Keep Calm and Carry on with Healthcare.gov

Officially, the open period for enrolling in the new healthcare marketplace expired at midnight, March 31st. However, consumers who began their enrollment through healthcare.gov or the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Call Center and, through no fault of their own, have been unable to complete the process by the deadline have been granted a special enrollment extension. Consumers enrolling after March 31st will have to attest that they tried to enroll prior to the end of open enrollment.

The Center for Rural Affairs, Community Catalyst and 299 other organizations called upon President Obama’s Administration to create this exception for healthcare consumers that were making a good faith effort to enroll in the healthcare marketplace in a letter sent to HHS Secretary Sebelius on March 20th (http://www.cfra.org/www.cfra.org/Letter-to-Secretary-Sebelius). As a result, HHS took quick action and less than a week later announced the special extension, and we applaud them for that.

Individuals who made an effort to enroll by the deadline and encountered difficulties in the healthcare.gov or Call Center process won’t be responsible for paying the individual mandate penalty for the time they went without coverage. Enrollees who are concerned about falling into this special category can contact the HHS Call Center (800-318-2596 or TTY: 855-889-4325) to determine the status of their application. Above all, if you began your enrollment efforts before the deadline, keep calm and carry on with the application.