Important Obamacare deadline approaching - Tucson News Now

Important Obamacare deadline approaching

Posted: Updated:
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) website is working better now, and it had better be.

There's just one week left to sign up for health insurance that will kick in on Jan. 1.

Local leaders are urging anyone who's eligible under the Affordable Care Act to sign up now.

Monday, Dec. 23, is the deadline to enroll for ACA coverage if you want your health insurance coverage to begin Jan. 1.

But that's not the only important thing people need to do to ensure they're covered by then.

There are a few others.

Tucson's mayor gathered some experts to impress all of that upon people who want to sign up through the government website that had so many problems at first.

"It's working much better now and the really good news is that Pima County residents can access some of the lowest health insurance premiums in the country through the health insurance marketplace," says Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

But the experts say once you sign up, it's not enough to just think you're enrolled.

They advise people to double check with their new insurance carriers.

"Call their insurance company. That is, by far and away, the most important thing that they can do to confirm they are enrolled as they think they are," says Rick Slaughter, of University Healthcare Marketplace, a participating insurer in the marketplace.

And you must mail your first premium on time, have it postmarked no later than December 31st, in order for coverage to start at the first of the year.

"It just has to be postmarked by the 31st in order to be effective. So if we receive it on the 2nd or 3rd, but it's postmarked the 31st, then that's good," Slaughter says.

Monday the government website rolled out a new window-shopping feature that should make it easier for people who qualify for subsidies to find and compare coverage and to see what it will actually cost them.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare services announced it via conference call.

"This will provide a much more realistic price for people who may qualify for subsidies by showing them plan premiums after the tax credit has been applied. This new feature also allows consumers to see who may be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program," says Julie Bataille of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Director of the Office of Communications.

If you miss the Dec. 23 deadline, or your first premium is not postmarked December 31 or earlier, then your coverage will begin February first.

Open enrollment continues until March 31 of next year.

If you miss this extended open enrollment period, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period which will start Oct. 15, 2014.

To explain what happens during the current enrollment period, here is information from the government website:

"During the rest of open enrollment, if you enroll between the 1st and 15th day of the month and pay your premium, your coverage begins the first day of the next month. So if you enroll on February 10, 2014, your coverage begins March 1, 2014.

If you enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month and pay your premium, your effective date of coverage will be the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on February 16, 2014, your coverage starts on April 1, 2014."

Powered by WorldNow