by Barbara Nevins Taylor
If you haven’t done it yet, there’s still time to sign up for Obamacare to get health insurance that starts January 1, 2014. The deadline is midnight, December 23rd, Eastern Standard Time. But there may be a little bit of wiggle room. You may have until Christmas Eve at midnight to apply because of the heavy demand.
By the way, President Obama enrolled in Obamacare during the weekend, before he left for his annual Christmas vacation in Hawaii, according to The Hill. It quoted an unnamed White House official who said that the President chose a bronze plan, in a symbolic gesture. He’ll pay $400 a month and did not enroll his wife or daughters.
SORT OF FLEXIBLE DEADLINE
For everyone else today, there is some flexibility in the December 23rd deadline. If you are trying to sign up but get stuck because of the heavy volume on Healthcare.gov., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services says it will still help you get insurance that begins January 1st.
Julie Bataille, a spokesperson for CMS says,”We have taken steps to make sure that those who tried to enroll today but had delays due to high traffic have a fail-safe. Consumers should not wait until tomorrow. If you are aiming to get coverage January 1, you should try to sign up today.”
TIPS FOR USING THE 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 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.
EXTENDED DEADLINE FOR MAKING YOUR PAYMENT
It’s best to make your first insurance payment as soon as you can. But some insurers are honoring the Obama administration’s request to extend the payment deadline until January 10, 2014 for insurance that begins January 1, 2014.
But you must complete the application process by midnight December 23 and check with the insurer you choose to find out about its policy.
Healthcare.gov had about 850,000 visits as of 2:00 p.m. Monday. That’s five times more visitors than last Monday Since we’re talking big numbers you might be interested to know that the site had 1.2 million visits last weekend.
Healthcare.gov is apparently working well without a high error rate, but people are being asked to join the queuing system. You leave your email address and they get back to you when the system can handle your information. Don’t hesitate to leave your email address. They are getting back to people relatively quickly.