(WHTM) — The open enrollment deadline for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is coming up. Insurance experts say customers need to sign up by next week if they want coverage to start on New Year’s Day.
Thursday, Dec. 15, is the deadline to ensure coverage starting Jan. 1. In the midst of the holiday season, it can be easy to forget about the deadline.
This is for people who buy their own insurance; it doesn’t apply to Medicare or coverage workers get through their job.
Two things could happen for those who miss next week’s deadline.
If they already have coverage, the plan they have now will automatically renew. Experts say even if you think you want to keep the plan you have, the plan, price, or provider network could change, so you’ll want to review your plan and options again.
For those who don’t have coverage and wait to enroll until after Dec. 15, their new plan won’t start until Feb. 1, and they would be uninsured in January.
“You just never know what could happen. Even if you’re perfectly healthy and maybe have gone a while without coverage and everything has been fine, January might be the month that changes, and so this is your opportunity right now to get yourself signed up for coverage, to really look at all the different options that are out there,” said Louise Norris, a health policy analyst with heathinsurance.org.
Dec. 15 is not the hard deadline to enroll at all. People can enroll in a plan through Jan. 15, but coverage for people enrolling after Dec. 15 won’t begin until Feb. 1.
Pennsylvania also has its own state-run insurance marketplace, Pennie. The deadline to enroll through Pennie to have coverage by Jan. 1 is also Dec. 15.