You may have waited until the last minute to sign up for Obamacare, but you can still do it. You’re in good company. Millions waited for the last week to do it and more than 6 million are now about to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.
Although the Obamacare deadline is March 31, if you start the application Sunday or Monday you’ll have until the middle of April to finish the process, choose a health insurer and a plan. If you pay your premium before April 15th, your health insurance will start May1.
There may be a wait on Healthcare.gov, outside a place where you can go in person to enroll, or on the phone. Be patient. The Department of Health and Human Services set up a queuing system and as long as you are in that queue, you’ll be able to start an application.
Here’s what you need to know about applying online.
Go to Healthcare.gov to enroll
TIPS FOR USING HEALTHCARE.GOV
1. Use the best browser for your computer.
2. Clear the history, cookies and cache.
3. Make sure your computer will accept cookies. You’ll get a big pop-up window.
4. You may not be able to use a mobile device. Best to stick with a desktop, or laptop if you can.
IF YOU TRIED TO SIGN UP ONLINE AND COULDN’T
1. Clear your history, cookies and cache.
2. Sign in with a new user name, email and password.
3. If you have a problem this time, check your junk email file for a notice.
DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER?
If you don’t have a computer at home, there is still time to apply on the phone. You can call 1-800-318-2596, or you can call that number and find out about local people in your community who are working with others to navigate the system.
You can also call and ask for help at 1-800-318-2596.
PENALTY FOR NOT GETTING HEALTH INSURANCE
There is negative reinforcement to try to convince you to get health insurance during the open enrollment period that ends March 31st.
Two formulas determine how much you’ll pay. And you’ll pay whichever amount is higher.
1. One percent of your annual household income.
2. $95 for an adult and $47.50 for a child under 18. The maximum family penalty is $285.00
3. You’ll also have to pay your own health care costs until the next open enrollment period.
APPLYING OUTSIDE OF THE OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD
You can only apply outside of the open enrollment period under the these circumstances:
1. You’re getting married.
2. You’re adopting a child or a child is placed in your home.
3. You’re moving to a new area that offers different health plan choices.
4. You’re losing your healthcare coverage after a divorce, because you’ve lost your job, your COBRA is expiring, or you no longer qualify for Medicaid.