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Tomorrow is the Last Day to Get Covered Starting February 1

by: Emily Cadik

Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 11:30 AM CST

So maybe you missed the deadline to have your new year begin with a new health insurance plan. It's not too late. You can still get a plan that kicks in on February 1 if you enroll by tomorrow, January 15.  If you sign up later this month, your coverage doesn't start until March 1.

The amount of time left to procrastinate is getting shorter. Open enrollment ends on March 31, and the next open enrollment period for 2015 doesn't start until November 15.

There will soon be consequences for being uninsured besides facing astronomical medical bills. If you are uninsured for three months or more in 2014, you're going to pay a fine. Unless you're among the few low-income individuals who can get this penalty waived, your fee will be the higher of 1 percent of your household income or $95. And the fee will go up every year - in 2015, it's 2 percent of your income or $325. That's a lot of money to pay to not have health insurance.

There's more after the jump.

To target those who started applying for health care but never completed the process, the federal marketplace is generating e-mails to these HealthCare.gov users in limbo, reminding them of the upcoming deadlines and the fact that there are health insurance plans on the marketplace for potentially less than $50 per month. But getting distracted and forgetting to finish the process is only an excuse for some. The major barrier to enrollment is the fact that almost three-fourths of the uninsured still aren't aware that the plans available to them through the marketplace will actually be affordable thanks to federal subsidies - so they haven't bothered to look.

Though Texas had 6 million uninsured residents in 2013, close to half a million Texans will now be insured in 2014 thanks to the Affordable Care Act. But there are millions more who still only have two and a half months to learn about their options and enroll.  

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