No matter your politics or opinion of the Affordable Care Act, it is law and we have now arrived at the end of the insurance enrollment grace period. By midnight Monday, the procrastinators among us must at least begin the application process. These latecomers will then have an extra two weeks to finish signing up.
If you’re already insured through the company you work for, there’s nothing you need to do. Ditto if you’re on Medicare. However, if you buy insurance on your own, or have been going without it entirely, you should visit www.coveredca.com today, study the offerings in the marketplace, make your selection and start the process before your head hits the pillow Monday night. Think how much better you’ll sleep knowing that you are covered.
Not convinced? Are you considering allowing your last chance to sign up this year pass you by? Then expect to pay a $95 fine or 1% of your income, whichever is greater. In 2016 that fine will rise to $695 or 2.5% of your income.
The ACA is a complex law, to be sure. But it has its strengths. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 and those who were foster children are eligible for Medicaid until their 26th birthdays, a real boon for both segments of that age group. Regardless of your age, once you successfully enroll in the current marketplace, your insurance company can no longer drop you and leave you scrambling for more expensive coverage elsewhere just because you’ve developed a condition that will be costly to treat. Preventive care is free and the former lifetime caps on coverage have been abolished.
More than 6 million people across the nation had signed up by Thursday, with California reporting more than a million so far. If you weren’t one of them, you still have a couple of days. Don’t let them slip past without taking action.