The last day to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here! Monday, March 31 is the last day that eligible adults can enroll in health insurance without being penalized.
For those who miss the deadline, most won’t be able to sign up for Marketplace health insurance again until the next open enrollment period, which starts on November 15, 2014. Important things to know:
- The penalty for those who don’t sign up for health insurance this year is $95 for each adult for the year ($47.50 per child) or 1% of your annual household income (whichever number is higher). This penalty is only for those who can afford health insurance. For more information on, who is exempt from this penalty, visit HealthCare.gov.
- More than 6 million people have signed up for private health insurance coverage since ACA’s care’s open enrollment began in October 2013. More are expected to sign up before the March 31 deadline. It’s expected that federal and state health exchange will be swamped over the next week as procrastinators try to make the deadline. If you need extra help signing up and access the federal or state hotlines, you may experience longer wait times as the deadline approaches.
- If you have had a “qualifying life event” such as losing your employee health insurance, having a baby, or getting married, you will be able to sign up for health insurance after the March 31 deadline.
- The March 31 deadline does not apply to those eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. These programs are open year-round to those who are eligible.
One important note, there has been media buzz over the last few days about an ACA extension. Basically, if you are not signed up by March 31 because of website glitches and delays, or if you have started the process on the Marketplace website but have not finished, you will be allowed to enroll after the March 31 deadline. You can do this by asking for an extension on the HealthCare.gov website, which will give you until mid-April to finish your enrollment. For more information on the March 31 deadline, the next enrollment period, qualifying life events, and any other questions you may have about the ACA and signing up for health insurance, visit HealthCare.gov for more information.