Last day to enroll for health coverage with ND exchange approachingFARGO – Those who have been waiting to sign up for health insurance under the new online marketplace should note that the deadlines fall next month.
By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM
FARGO – Those who have been waiting to sign up for health insurance under the new online marketplace should note that the deadlines fall next month.
The last day to enroll for coverage in the health exchanges is March 15 for coverage that begins April 1. Those signing up from March 16 through March 31 will have coverage beginning May 1.
Beyond that, people won’t be able to sign up until the next enrollment period opens Nov. 15, unless they have had some sort of life-changing occurrence, such as marriage, loss of a job, death of a spouse or birth of a child.
Diane Domke, deputy regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said people shouldn’t wait until the last minute to sign up.
“We’re hoping we don’t have that major crunch at the end,” she said Wednesday during a stop in Fargo to promote awareness of the looming enrollment deadlines.
So far, as of Feb. 1, the most recent figures available, 4,057 people in North Dakota have signed up for health insurance under the new online marketplace. A similar number have been added to Medicaid under expanded eligibility requirements.
“So we really have 8,000 people in North Dakota who are qualifying for something,” Domke said. In North Dakota, 83 percent of those signing up for coverage under the new marketplace have qualified for some form of subsidy, she said.
The pace of enrollment has picked up since the rocky rollout of the health exchanges in October. The signup during January was 40 percent greater than over the fall, Domke said.
Under the law’s individual mandate, which requires coverage, people are subject to penalties – $95 for individuals and up to $270 for families.
“I’m downplaying that,” Domke said. “That’s not really the issue. The real issue is you don’t have health insurance,” except through enrollment.
In Fargo, people can get help in enrolling from Family HealthCare by calling (701) 271-3344.
Assistance also is available through Community Health Service, formerly Migrant Health Service, at (800) 842-8693 or (218) 236-6502.
“Making sure patients have access to high-quality primary and preventative care is a focus for Community Health Service, said Christine Rositas, outreach and enrollment coordinator.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522