Affordable Care Act, healthcare, Obamacare — December 11, 2015 at 8:26 am

Time’s almost up! Enroll in health insurance by December 15 for coverage starting January 1


It doesn’t take long to enroll — in fact, it’s easier than ever.

Everyone’s been known to procrastinate. You think you have plenty of time to get something done, and then all of a sudden the deadline is upon you.

If you haven’t signed up for 2016 health insurance yet, the time is now. The deadline to get coverage that kicks in on January 1, 2016, is December 15th. Open enrollment continues through January 31, but why wait?

Sure, this is a busy time of year, but with the continued improvements to, it’s faster and easier than ever to enroll. Just ask Kathy Deegan.

The first year of open enrollment, she admits she had a lot of trouble with the website. In fact, she couldn’t complete her enrollment online at all. Her son, Neil Deegan — who is Pennsylvania State Director for Enroll America — sent her a paper application so she could sign up for 2014 coverage.

But the last two years have been an entirely different story, Kathy says.

I was so pleased. Everything ran very smoothly. I went on the computer once and was able to do it. All my information was there and all I did was update it.

I understood the glitches the first year. It was a new program and that’s to be expected. But this year was a pleasure — no problem at all.

Kathy kept the same coverage because she liked her plan and the price is right: Just $257 a month with the help of financial assistance. The 64-year-old Philadelphia resident works part-time in retail sales and has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, pre-existing conditions that meant she was facing premium costs of $800 a month before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. “That’s like a mortgage payment,” Kathy says.

But now her coverage not only fits her budget, but signing up for a plan was easy and straightforward, Kathy says. She’d reviewed some information from her insurance company before she went shopping, but even with the time spent comparing plans online she says the entire process took less than an hour.

“It was amazingly easy,” she says. “It’s not complicated and it doesn’t take a long time.”

There’s no better time to enroll. Not only is easy to use and navigate, there’s help available if you need it from Get Covered America.

There’s the Get Covered Plan Explorer, which helps you compare plans side by side. I used the tool this year and it’s an easy way to see the premiums, deductibles, co-pays and physician networks across a number of plans to make an informed decision.

Wondering if you’re eligible for financial assistance? Nearly 80 percent of Americans are. Check out the Get Covered Calculator tool to see if you’re eligible for help that can reduce the cost of insurance.

As easy as the online tools make insurance shopping, some people like a personal touch — and Get Covered America can help there, too. Free, in-person assistance is available nationwide. Just visit the Get Covered Connector tool to find local resources.

Don’t miss the deadline on December 15th! Sure, you have until January 31, 2016, to get covered, but there’s no time like the present. And remember: If you can afford insurance but don’t enroll by January 31, you could face a fine of $695 or 2.5% of your yearly income, whichever is greater.

Sure sounds like an hour well spent: Get the health insurance you need — and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re covered.

[Image credit: Dennis Wilkinson via Flickr.]