Health insurance coverage deadline extended

Learning more about health care coverage

As you may know, a big deadline for health insurance coverage was approaching. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also popularly known as Obamacare, March 31 was supposed to be the end of the open enrollment period for the uninsured to sign up for health coverage through the public exchange. This week also marks four years since the PPACA was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Those consumers who started the enrollment process, but won't be able to finish it by Monday, will now have the chance to get an extension until mid-April, according to Federal officials. People will be able to check off a blue box on the official HealthCare.gov site to show they tried to enroll before the official March 31 deadline. While up until now the March 31 was emphasized, this provides an extended enrollment period for anyone still trying to get coverage.

Note: A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is separate from health insurance. Learn more in this blog post about how a Flexible Spending Account is separate from health insurance.

Fines for Not Enrolling

Many who miss this enrollment opportunity would have to wait until fall to get coverage for January 2015. Not only that, but if those that are uninsured don't enroll by this date, they could face a fine. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the penalty is calculated each year (and increases per year) and for 2014 is either 1% of yearly household income, or $95 per person per year ($47.50 per child under 18). If you have what is considered 'minimum essential coverage,' then you can avoid paying the penalty. Minimum essential coverage (which means you get covered) includes a Marketplace plan, COBRA, Medicare and Medicaid, among a few other available options.

Reuters reported that the Obama administration will still allow some people to enroll after March 31, but only depending on special circumstances. Americans can enroll under the federal insurance marketplace site, HealthCare.gov.

Enrollment Data

Despite early glitches with the HealthCare.gov site, Reuters added that more than 5 million Americans signed up to get covered through the federal site and also through 14 state-run marketplaces.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new data in March 11, 2014 press release about enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Statistics showed that 31% of those who enrolled were age 34 and under, and 25% are between the ages of 18 and 34.

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