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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Topic: deadline

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April 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Insurance enrollment spikes on final day; state softens stance on extensions

Procrastinators gave a giant bump to the number of health plans sold through Washington’s new exchange, with 8,000 people enrolling during the final day of sign ups. By the close of the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment period on March 31, more than 146,000 residents bought insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder. Nationally, the White…


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, deadline, enrollment

March 27, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Insurance sign-ups surge in final days

Ad promoting the state's health insurance exchange.

Ad promoting the state’s health insurance exchange.

In the last few days that people can buy health insurance for this year, the state is at last seeing a surge in sign ups.

So how fast are people scrambling to get coverage? In the past three days, nearly 6,000 people have bought insurance — approximately the same number of sign ups as were completed the first two weeks of March. About 131,000 people have purchased insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s insurance exchange.

State officials are still ramping up their advertising and outreach to get as many people as possible enrolled by the March 31 deadline.

“The need is to create a sense of urgency,” Michael Marchand, spokesman for the exchange, explained Thursday to the board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which  oversees the marketplace.


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, deadline, enrollment

January 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Health care’s drop-dead date: March 31

If your senses are getting numbed by Obamacare’s endless deadline drumbeat, let us direct your attention to arguably the most important date of all: March 31, 2014.

March 31 is important not only because it’s the deadline for getting coverage in order to avoid penalties for being uninsured. It’s also the end of this round of open enrollment, meaning it’s your last chance this year for getting insurance coverage as an individual (though of course there are exceptions that will allow you to get individual coverage later in the year, exceptions such as getting a divorce or losing a job that had benefits).

But just as you don’t have to wait for April 15 to file your income taxes, you likewise don’t have to delay signing up health insurance until March 31. Anytime between now and then you can enroll through the state insurance exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, where you might qualify for subsidized coverage, or you can buy insurance outside of the exchange through brokers or directly from insurance companies.

If you sign up through Healthplanfinder before the end of March, here’s when your coverage will start (deadlines can vary for plans bought outside of the exchange — check with your insurance company):

  • Enroll and pay by Jan. 23, your coverage starts Feb. 1
  • Enroll and pay by Feb. 23, your coverage starts March 1
  • Enroll and pay by March 23, your coverage starts April 1
  • Enroll and pay by March 31, your coverage starts May 1

Insurance options

With all of the emphasis on the exchanges, don’t get confused by the fact that individual insurance isn’t the only game in town. You don’t have to buy insurance through the exchange to avoid a penalty — you just need to be insured.


Comments | Topics: Affordable Care Act, deadline, Medicaid

December 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Healthplanfinder signup deadline is still midnight Monday

The Obama administration’s deadline extension for health-insurance signups does not apply to Washington residents seeking insurance coverage by Jan. 1 on Washington Healthplanfinder, the online exchange marketplace. The deadline for Washington residents is still 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, Washington Health Benefit Exchange officials said Monday. Washington residents who start applications in Healthplanfinder by 11:59 p.m. Monday…


Comments | Topics: deadline, exchange, health insurance