Oklahomans Rush To Sign Up As ACA Deadline Looms

Monday, March 31st 2014, 7:14 pm
By: Craig Day

The deadline to sing up for health insurance under President Obama's Affordable Care Act is midnight. A technical problem caused a four hour slowdown on the federal healthcare.gov website Monday morning, but things were running smoothly in the evening.

It's important to meet the deadline, or penalties kick in. So far, about 6 million Americans have signed up for the Affordable Care Act, but many are waiting until the last minute.

Tulsa resident Liza Vargas got help as she signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. She isn't one of the procrastinators waiting until the last day; she just didn't realize the deadline was Monday.

3/30/2014 Related Story: Enrollment Deadline For Affordable Care Act Is Monday

"I didn't know, I didn't know, really, honestly, I didn't think it could be the last day to file for insurance," Vargas said.

Agent Roger Flippo, a member of the Tulsa Association of Health Underwriters, helped Vargas and many others, meet the deadline before penalties began.

It's been a busy few days as people signed up.

"Either get themselves enrolled, or their son or daughter enrolled that needs coverage," Flippo said.

With 50 to 60 plans to choose from, Flippo said it can be difficult for some to navigate the process of signing up under the Affordable Care Act.

Although some people experienced delays on the last day, Flippo said they didn't had problems getting into the system like when healthcare.gov was first set up.

"We haven't really been kicked off of the website that much, like we used to," said Flippo.

With the midnight deadline, it's important people sign up on healthcare.gov, or at the very least, create an account to make sure they don't face penalties.

"If they can't get the eligibility qualification for premium subsidy completed, and/or their enrollment completed into an actual health plan, then they'll be given an extension," Flippo said.

The penalty for not getting it done on time is $95, or one percent of their income, whichever is greater.

Not to exceed $285 dollars per family.

The penalty will be imposed on 2014 taxes.

Vargas was glad she made it in time.

"Looks like it can help me," Vargas said.

As long as you get signed up before the deadline, the White House said the grace period to finish enrolling will extend to mid-April, but they haven't set a definitive date for the end of enrollment.

The next open enrollment will be November 15th.