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What is the last day I can sign up for Obamacare?

Here's what you need to know...

• The Open Enrollment period runs from November 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016.
• Open enrollment ends the public sign up period for the year.
• Extensions may be announced by the Government
• Life Events are the exceptions to Open Enrollment
• Life Events create a sixty day period for enrollment from the date of the event.

Once per year, Obamacare opens for enrollment with plans approved for the next year of coverage. The current Open Enrollment began on November 1, 2015. It closes on January 31, 2016. January 31, 2016, is the last day of Open Enrollment, and this is the last day to sign up for Obamacare unless eligible for an extension or an exception. The Open Enrollment offers an opportunity to price, examine and compare plans before selecting one. It is a valuable opportunity to get health insurance coverage, premium subsidies, and payment assistance. Comparison shopping is a proven method for finding the best fit in health insurance coverage. Using comparison shopping, consumers can focus on the features that meet their particular needs. These include services, facilities, and favorable procedures like rules for using specialists outside of the provider’s network. Start comparing health insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Open Enrollment Is the Deadline

The Open Enrollment period defines the dates in which the public has a right to purchase insurance in Obamacare. Beyond that date, one must request a special enrollment period for Life Events, or use an extension granted for some particular reason, like a backlog at the end of the Open Enrollment. Comparison shopping provides a weighted approach to assessing health insurance plans that consider the needs of the consumer. Comparison shopping goes beyond the surface items like price and coverage percentages. It looks for the parts of the plan that are important to the consumer such as particular medical services, the location of facilities, and any needs for specialists.

Life Events

Life events are exceptions to the rule against sign ups after the last day of Open Enrollment. They are essentially changes in status that require time for getting insured. They may affect income or family status, but fairness requires time for the individual to get insurance through Obamacare. The below list of items is included in the Obamacare list of Life Events.

• Moving to a different state
• Marriage
• Divorce
• Giving birth
• Adoption
• Losing coverage due to job loss
• Losing coverage as a dependent

Medicaid and Child Insurance

Obamacare expanded the coverage for Medicaid and the Children Health Insurance Programs (CHIPs). This part of Obamacare has no open period restriction. Residents of any state can apply at any time for coverage for low-income adults and children. If eligible for coverage, they can sign up at once.

Compliance or Penalty

Persons who do not enroll in a qualified health insurance plan must pay a tax penalty based on the greater of $695 for adults and $347.50 for minors or 2.5 percent of adjusted income. The maximum total is the greater of $2,085 for a family or 2.5 percent of household income after subtracting the filing threshold amount.

Shopping Outside of Obamacare Exchanges

Only policies purchased inside of Obamacare can get the tax subsidies for premiums and payment assistance benefits. Those with incomes that are too large for subsidies, greater than 400 percent of the federal poverty guideline, can buy policies in the marketplace but without the subsidies.

Private insurers limit Obamacare policies purchased directly or through agents to the Open Enrollment period.

Consumers can buy policies from private insurers that meet the requirements for the individual mandate after the close of Open Enrollment. The responsibility for meeting the requirements of the ACA rests with the individual.

Private purchases after the Deadline

Many private insurers offer limited coverage and short term policies. The partial and short-term policies do not meet the requirements of the ACA. Private companies are free to offer ACA-compliant policies after the Obamacare deadline, but the likelihood is low, and any available sources might be limited to persons that began but did not complete applications before the deadline. In this way, one can purchase insurance after the deadline and meet the minimum standards of the ACA. The burden of showing that any private plan meets the ACA is always on the applicant; as stated above most short term and other policies do not meet the ACA standards or essential benefits.

Private Options after Enrollment

There is a formal end to Open Enrollment, but the special enrollment periods and extensions can permit certain applicants to sign up after the last enrollment date. Private insurers often limit offerings to the Open Enrollment period to protect their premium prices and term of coverage. The private plans have defined areas of service, and over time the factors that support the plans and prices will change. Some private insurers offer policies that they design to meet the essential health benefits of the Affordable Care Act. If these policies meet the minimum standards, then the insured avoid the individual mandate penalty. Shopping for policies at any time, comparison shopping provides the best opportunity to get maximum value at the lowest price. Start comparing health insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

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