Affordable Care Act, healthcare, Obamacare — December 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Do you know the deadline to buy 2016 health insurance?


If you don’t, you’re not alone. And this post is for you.

Not everyone is great at meeting deadlines. If that applies to you, raise your hand.

Plenty of people are paying attention to the deadline to sign up for 2016 health insurance. According to our friend Charles Gaba at ACA Signups, as of December 17 more than 5 million Americans have signed up for 2016 health insurance. That’s a good thing. And he’s predicting that a total of more than 14 million Americans will sign up before the end of open enrollment on January 31, 2016, both at and through other channels such as insurance brokers.

But plenty of other Americans could use a reminder about the deadlines. A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation says only 7 percent of the uninsured they heard from knew when the deadline to enroll in coverage is.

From the poll:

The ACA’s third open enrollment will come to a close at the end of January and the December Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that, at this point, only 7 percent of the uninsured correctly identify this as the deadline to enroll in coverage and 20 percent say they have been contacted by someone about signing up for coverage. When asked why they have not personally obtained health insurance this year, nearly half of the uninsured (46 percent) say they have tried to get coverage but that it was too expensive. However, slightly over half of the uninsured (55 percent) say they plan to get health insurance in the next few months.

The poll proves there’s still some educating to do, so here are the deadlines for 2016 open enrollment:

To get insurance that kicks in on January 1, 2016: A few states held to the December 15th cut-off, but most of them have extended the deadline due to heavy demand. The 38 states that use as their insurance marketplace have extended the deadline to midnight on December 17th — so take action NOW to buy or renew your insurance. Other states have extended their deadlines further, and ACA Signups has the details.

To get coverage that begins on February 1, 2016: You must enroll in or change plans by January 15, 2016.

To get insured for 2016 and avoid paying a penalty for not having insurance: Open enrollment for 2016 ends on January 31, 2016. If you enroll between January 15 and 31, your coverage will take effect March 1, 2016.

One other important fact: Given how many people don’t know the deadlines to sign up for coverage, it’s not all that surprising that they think coverage is too expensive. But as many as 8 in 10 Americans will qualify for some help paying for health insurance, and many can get covered for $75 a month or less. The only way to know for sure is to visit, where you can link to your state’s website if needed. You can also get an estimate using Get Covered America’s calculator.

Now that you know the deadlines and details, the time to get covered is NOW.

[Image credit: geralt, via Pixabay.]