Obamacare Deadline: Just Hours Left To Sign Up For Coverage Beginning Jan. 1

DETROIT (WWJ) – If you want health care coverage under Obamacare to begin on Jan. 1, then you have less than a day left to enroll.

The deadline has been extended a bit until Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 3 a.m.

All 2014 coverage under the Affordable Care Act ends Dec. 31, no matter when you enrolled.

“The Affordable Care Act already has helped thousands of Detroiters gain access to quality medical care, many for the first time in their lives,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said, at a news conference along with Get Covered America (GCA), H.H.S. Region V Director Kathleen Falk and Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion Director Vernice Anthony on Monday. “We want all Detroiters to have that access.  For those who have not yet signed up, now is the time.”

While last year, enrollment became a national nightmare with problems at the call centers and with the website, this year experts say things are running much better.

Or if you’d rather meet with someone in person, Shawn Dhanak from Enroll America says help is available.

A GCA survey found that consumers who received the help of an in-person enrollment assistance were more than twice as likely to enroll successfully as those who did not seek that help. Officials stressed that free, professional enrollment assisters are available across Southeast Michigan and ready to help consumers.

“Those are free, professional enrollment assisters, and they are certified by the federal government to walk (customers) through the process and, you know, help (customers) find the plan that’s best for them and their budgets,” Dhanak said.

Though that date isn’t the final chance to enroll during this enrollment period (Open enrollment for the runs through Feb. 15), the Detroit ACA Coalition is encouraging all consumers to take action to enroll in or renew their coverage before the 3 a.m. deadline For the uninsured, that means their new coverage will start as soon as January 1. For those who are renewing, the GCA says, that means getting the right amount of financial help based on their circumstances.

GCA has found that knowledge is critical to consumers ultimately taking action to get covered. A recent GCA survey found that the more consumers knew about their new health coverage options, the more likely they were to enroll during the first open enrollment period. However, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that those who are still uninsured lack awareness of this enrollment period’s key dates, and that financial assistance is available to help them afford coverage — even though nearly nine in 10 (87 percent ) Michigan consumers received financial help during the last enrollment period.

“We know that this year more than seven in 10 of those who enrolled last year through the federal marketplace will be able to select a similar plan with a lower premium, if they choose to do so,” said Falk. “That’s why we’re encouraging both the uninsured and those who are re-enrolling to go into the Marketplace, update their information, and find the best plan for them and their family.”

Free enrollment events are available through Feb. 15. To find a local expert who can sit down with you for free and help you understand your coverage options, visit the Get Covered Connector at this link.

For complete information or to sign up now, visit HealthCare.gov.

More from Dr. Deanna Lites
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