Affordable Care Act Deadline Extended by One Day - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Affordable Care Act Deadline Extended by One Day

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Last minute Affordable Care shoppers are being granted a grace period.

The Federal Government extended the deadline to apply for the Affordable Care Act until Christmas Eve.

The one-day extension will allow more people to sign up for the coverage that will kick in on January 1st.

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama in March of 2010.

That July, healthcare.gov was launched without the enrollment function.

It wasn't until October 1st of this year people could begin shopping for health insurance on the site, but glitches prevented many from doing so.

The deadline was originally today, but has been extended through Christmas Eve, and this won't be the final opportunity for people to sign up.

Traverse Health Clinic Affordable Care Act application counselor, Sharon Werner, says someone hoping to complete their application by this deadline better act fast.

"There will be a lot of high demand, I would think, it being the last day that you can sign up to have your coverage by January first."

High demand, along with some hiccups may create a longer process for most applicants.

"The website's primarily working better but there are still some glitches. People may not realize it can take an hour, hour and a half or more to get through an application," explains Werner.

Werner says if you can't make tomorrow's deadline, and wait to apply, the only real difference is that your insurance will kick in later. 

"They'll still go through the same process, likely the coverage won't begin until maybe February 1st, it's just a matter of lapse."

Right now, people are required to have health insurance by March 31st - or face a penalty.

"I think the sooner the better, and you do have time so the nice thing is start now to make sure you can get through the web site, make sure you understand the plans. But the sooner you start the sooner of course you can be sure you have something set up."

Werner says she and other local counselors will continue to be available after tomorrow to help navigate through the application.

Blue Cross Blue Shield says that shoppers who don't qualify for tax subsidies on the new insurance marketplace will have until December 31st to pick a plan.