After getting off to a rocky start with major server problems, the HealthCare.gov website is up and running smoothly. Signing up is a breeze, from personal experience. The March 31, deadline is two-weeks away.
According to the March 17, report by the Los Angeles Times, "After March 31, you won't be able to sign up for a private plan until the next open enrollment period scheduled for November. Lower-income people can still qualify year-round for any state's Medicaid program."
Some of the most common questions about Obamacare, according to the report:
What is the March 31 deadline?
That's the last day to buy a health policy for 2014.
I heard Obamacare deadlines keep changing. Will this one be extended?
President Obama recently said the deadline won't be pushed back. However, it's likely that if you start signing up on March 31, and run into technical difficulties, you may get a few extra days to finish your application. But that grace period only applies if you started in time.
When does my coverage start?
If you pick a health plan before March 31, your coverage should start May 1.
If I get health insurance through work or receive Medicare, do I have to do anything?
No, you're set.
What happens if I don't sign up?
The penalty for being uninsured in 2014 is $95 per adult, or 1% of your household income, whichever is greater. That would be assessed on your 2014 tax return.
As a student, if you think you can't afford any insurance payments because of a lack of income, this will actually work to your advantage. With minimal or no income you are likely to receive free coverage, which is the State Medicaid program.
Even a young, active, healthy person can take ill. Whether it's the flu, a sports related injury or a yeast infection, a doctor's visit and medication may be needed. If you've ever had a toothache, you know that it can be excruciatingly painful with the risk of other dangerous complications. An infected tooth can spread the infection to the bloodstream. You can receive dental coverage in the insurance package.
Without insurance, you can receive medical treatment at your local emergency care facility, but it's going to cost you dearly. You will be billed for everything from a $15.00 aspirin to x-rays, etc.
Unpaid hospital bills are likely to be sent to a collection agency and reported to credit bureaus, hence marring your credit rating. The importance of good credit is monumental. It's needed for low-interest rates, loans, housing, purchases, cars, and select employment.
Top 3 reasons to secure health care insurance:
1. Unexpected illness and related expenses.
2. Routine preventive checkups if your "family" has a history of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, etc.
3. Additional heath benefits in addition to medical insurance, dental and optical coverage for eyeglasses.
Get started now at HealthCare.Gov.