Readers, this article for those of you who are procrastinators and who figured they would “get around” to enrolling in health insurance and the March 31, 2014 deadline has come and gone. I am sure that you had every intention of signing up, but maybe you are like the other 15.9% of Americans who either tried to enroll and the website crashed, you couldn’t afford the offered plans or any of a million other reasons.

While, March 31, 2014 was the formal deadline to sign up for health insurance on the marketplaces or face a penalty, unless you were already “in-line” for enrollment. Still, people who are uninsured, who missed the cutoff or couldn’t buy insurance have options to obtain health care services, however, doing so may not be simple or assured.

1) You were “in line” to purchase insurance on the marketplace website and couldn’t get through. The President recently carved out this exception and even if your dog ate your insurance policy, I would log on the marketplace and immediately give them the “in line” defense;

2) Seek health care services at 9,300 community health centers. Last year, 22 million people obtained primary care services as well as dental and behavioral health and its affordable. People with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,340 for an individual in 2014) pay for services based on a sliding scale; above that level patient’s pay the full cost, including doctor visits, lab work, imaging and pharmacy costs;

3) Apply for entitlements, such as Medicaid, which has stringent income and asset guidelines;

4) Affordable Care Act special enrollment period. This enrollment period exception allows people to sign up for or change coverage on the marketplace when their life circumstances change. In the Marketplace, you can qualify for a special enrollment period of 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage. If you don’t have a special enrollment period, you can’t buy insurance through the Marketplace until the next Open Enrollment period; and

5) Wait for the next Open Enrollment Period: The Enrollment Period starts on November 15, 2014 and ends on February 15, 2015.


About Author

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  • Michael LaMagna, LNHA, MPA, JD concentrates in the areas of Medicaid and Advanced Asset Protection Planning, Elder Law, Trusts and Estates, Probate and Probate Litigation, Guardianships, Health Care Regulatory Matters, Nursing Home Placement, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare Appeals, Social Security/SSI Litigation and Special Needs Law. If you have a question for Mr. LaMagna, please call him at (914) 437-5955.