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Four Things You Need To Know On The Last Day to #GetCovered

by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

Today is the last day to start an account on Healthcare.gov or begin the process of enrolling in health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

If you haven't yet started your efforts to get health insurance, please do so today. It's relatively quick and you'll avoid paying a penalty for having no insurance.

I just signed up on Friday, because I am a relentless procrastinator. I went to an in-person navigator at Insure Central Texas, a program of Foundation Communities. The navigator answered my questions and helped me compare plans. As I was heading back to my car I was so busy texting that I walked head-first into a tree. Clearly, getting health insurance was a good decision for me.

So even if you've waited a really long time to sign up, that's Ok -- today's as good a day as any to Get Covered.

Below the jump, find out what you need to know about today's deadline to enroll in health insurance.

Here are the things you need to know about today's deadline.

1. Today is the deadline to start an account, either in person, on the phone, or on Healthcare.gov

    You may not be able to finish shopping or pick a plan today -- that's Ok. If you can get your application started, you will count as having met today's deadline, as long as you finish it in the coming days. If you have Internet access, please head over to healthcare.gov and create an account, and get as far in the process as you can today.

    If you need help or aren't comfortable using the website, you can call the toll-free number: 1-800-318-2596. If you need to have someone walk you through the process, find in-person help locally by clicking here.

2. You might get a big tax credit to help you pay for it!

    If your income is below a certain level, the government will help pay for your insurance, and may allow you to pick plans with greater cost-sharing. This helps you choose a higher quality plan with a lower deductible and lower out-of-pocket costs. Check out this chart to see if you might just save a boat-load of money on your premiums.

3. If you do not enroll, you will pay a fine on your taxes for 2014.

    Individuals must be enrolled for 9 of the 12 months of 2014 to avoid paying a penalty. The penalty is small this year, but it will get bigger -- and if you get sick or get hurt you still have to pay for your healthcare. Duh, go sign up.

4. You may have a "qualifying life event" that lets you sign up later.

    In insurance lingo, a "qualifying life event" is a major change in your taxpayer status, basically. Getting married, getting divorced, having a baby, moving to a new state, leaving a job, starting a new job, creating a business -- these are all qualifying life events, and they can make you eligible for a special enrollment period of 60 days to find new insurance. Keep that in mind if your life changes in such a manner this year, as it may impact your insurance status or what plans you can afford.

That's it! Now go get covered!  

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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