Deadline fast approaching to have healthcare coverage by January 1, 2014

The deadline is fast approaching for those wanting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act by January 1, 2014. All levels of government are trying to get people to sign up this holiday season.

Consumers need to pick a plan by Monday, December 23, 2013 to have coverage by January 1, 2014.

At an Enroll Quad Cities event at the Rock Island Public Library in Rock Island, several people were waiting to sign up for coverage.

Keith Mattson, a veteran, received a letter from his company tell him his insurance would be cut January 1, 2014. Mattson uses his insurance to help with his wife’s medication.

“If we don’t have insurance, her medication would be over $300 a month, just medication,” said Mattson.

Katherine Williams, a single mom who has battled diabetes, was also at the event.

“I think maybe four years of my whole life have I actually had any health coverage of any kind,” said Williams.

“We have had at the events, sometimes there’s low attendance. Now there are people waiting for us when we get to the event and it’s pretty much busy when we do the three hour ones,” said Laurie Zimmerman, a health navigator with Genesis Health System.

At both the national and state level, there is a push to get people to sign up by December 23, 2013. In Illinois, Get Covered Illinois is running TV ads encouraging sign up until the deadline.

“It’s one of those things where I literally might have been way healthier person if I would’ve had health insurance for the last decade or so pretty much,” said Williams.

The deadline to enroll for coverage in 2014 is March 31, 2014. According to healthcare.gov, many health insurers have decided to extend the time to pay for the first month’s premium until January 10, 2014. However, some insurers are still requiring payment on or before December 31, 2013.

Starting January 1, 2014 if a person does not have health insurance, that person may have to pay a fine that increases ever year. It starts from 1% of a person’s income or $95 per adult, whichever is higher in 2014 and will increase to 2.5% or $695 per adult in 2016.

According to healthcare.gov, if you enroll in a health insurance plan by March 31, 2014 coverage will begin May 1, 2014 and you will not have to pay a penalty for the previous months of 2014.

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