What Washingtonians need to know about approaching ACA deadline



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Posted on March 12, 2014 at 5:29 PM

If you have been putting off enrolling for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Washington Healthplanfinder gives this advice:  Don’t put it off any longer.

"What we're trying to tell people do not wait ‘til the last minute,” said Michael Marchand, spokesperson for the exchange.

The deadline to enroll for health insurance is fast approaching - March 31. But the Washington Healthplanfinder will grant extensions for some, but only under certain conditions.

Marchand says they will have more than 600 customer support representatives manning call centers, 1700 in-person assisters, and almost 2,000 certified agents and brokers to deal with the deadline rush.

"That being said we know we're going to see a lot of people come in toward the end, and we're making the necessary assessments,” said Marchand. “If we need more people we'll put more people in certain areas.”

Americans who don't meet the mandate will need to report it next year in their tax return, and pay a penalty of $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher, and the fees go up every year.

Diana Wells has been trying to apply for insurance on website for about a month, but keeps getting an error message.

"It concerns me because the deadline is March 31st to sign up, and I don't think this is going to be fixed by then,” said Wells.

She is one of about 15,000 enrollees stuck in “technical limbo” on the Washington Healthplanfinder site.

Marchand says they’ll grant extensions on a case by case basis to those who can't finish their applications because of system error. User errors or last minute applicants will get little leeway.

"Which is why it's paramount for people to start their applications early for purposes for completing it and paying,” said Marchand., “because we don't want people to run into a situation where their application is rejected.”

To meet the March 31 deadline, enrollees have to have filled out the application, have selected a plan, and purchased that plan.

If you miss the deadline, your next chance to enroll is November 15 this fall. Washingtonians who qualify for Medicaid can enroll at any time.