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Missed the Deadline? Don’t Despair!

Missed the Deadline? Don’t Despair!

At 11:59:59 pm on Monday March 31, 2014, the Open Enrollment Period for purchasing private health insurance plans through the federal Marketplace closed…or did it?

Anticipating a last-minute surge in interest on the federal Marketplace website, guidance came out this past week that people "in line" to get coverage by midnight could still secure coverage.

What does it mean to be “in-line”?

According to the federal government, consumers who experienced one of the following can still secure coverage beyond the deadline:

  • Couldn’t start or continue your application because of heavy traffic to or the Marketplace call center
  • Encountered maintenance periods that kept you from using the site
  • Blocked by error screens or similar technical issues
  • Tried to get an appointment with a Navigator or other application assister but no slots were available before the deadline
  • Sent in an application by mail and didn’t get an eligibility result before the deadline

You want our advice? Don’t wait! There is still a small army of in-person Navigators in North Carolina that are helping consumers secure coverage over the next couple weeks during the extended deadline period. There is also a large group of people who will be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) due to qualifying life events.

A special enrollment period is a time outside of the Open Enrollment period during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. In the Marketplace, you generally 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. (See the full list of qualifying events below.)

We all have things that happen over the course of a year. Good or bad don’t let the opportunity to secure coverage slip by. It could mean the difference between financial security and financial ruin. Call 1-855-733-3711 if you think you might be eligible for an enrollment extension or the Special Enrollment Period and you’d like to meet with someone in person. You can still log on to and complete an application yourself.

Examples of qualifying life events:

  • Marriage
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care
  • Moving outside your insurer’s coverage area
  • Losing other health coverage—due to losing job-based coverage, divorce, the end of an individual policy plan year in 2014, COBRA expiration, aging off a parent’s plan, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar circumstances. (Important: Voluntarily ending coverage doesn’t qualify you for a special enrollment period. Neither does losing coverage that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.)
  • Gaining citizenship
  • Leaving incarceration
  • Gaining status as member of an Indian tribe. (Members of federally recognized Indian tribes can sign up for or change plans once per month throughout the year.)
  • For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage: Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions