WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s not too late to get covered. A few routes remain open for those who missed the health care law’s big enrollment deadline.
Millions may be eligible for a second chance to sign up for subsidized insurance this year. And people who get coverage after the deadline can still avoid, or at least reduce, the fine for going uninsured.
Here are five options for those still without insurance:
1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GRACE PERIOD
This special break was created for anyone who began enrolling in an insurance marketplace by Monday’s deadline but didn’t finish. That includes people stymied by website outages or overwhelmed phone lines, missing information on applications, and other problems or confusion.
Those who started an application on HealthCare.gov by March 31 should log on and finish it as soon as possible. Federal officials say they will take what time is necessary to work through cases pending.
People applying online will have until April 15 to finish, administration spokesman Aaron Albright said Tuesday. Paper applications will be accepted until April 7.
Consumers will have to attest that they had tried to enroll by March 31.
Rules vary in the 14 states running their own insurance marketplaces.
For most people, going through a marketplace opens the door to lower costs. Those who use the grace period will get coverage starting May 1 and won’t owe a fine.
2. USE A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
The government also is offering special extensions for a host of problems that might have prevented people from signing up through a marketplace: Natural disasters. Domestic abuse. A serious illness. Mistakes by application counselors. Errors by insurance companies.
To seek a “special enrollment period,” contact the federal call center, at 1-800-318-2596, or your state marketplace and explain what went wrong. It’s on the honor system. If the extension is approved, that brings another 60 days to enroll.
Also, at any time during the year, certain life events — such as changing jobs, getting married or divorced, or becoming a parent — open a 60-day window to sign up for marketplace coverage.
3. SIGN UP FOR MEDICAID