Affordable Care Act
3:28 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

With Health Insurance Deadline Looming, St. Louis Sign-Ups On The Rise

UPDATE: 12-27-13

Even if you missed the Christmas Eve deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, you may still be able to have your coverage kick in on Jan. 1.

As reported earlier this week by The New York Times, the Obama administration is giving even more time for people to complete their applications -- if they can prove they missed the deadline because of problems with the federal health insurance website.

The HealthCare.gov website has a number you can call to make your case for an extension.

UPDATE: 12-23-13

The White House is giving people an extra 24 hours to sign up for insurance on HealthCare.gov. Originally, tonight (Monday) at midnight was the deadline to sign up under the Affordable Care Act in order to get coverage starting Jan. 1.  Now, The New York Times and Washington Post are reporting that deadline has been extended one day.

ORIGINAL POST:

This Monday is another big deadline under the Affordable Care Act.

That’s the last day that people can sign up for insurance through the online marketplace and have their coverage begin on January 1.

According to numbers released last week by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, only 4,124 Missourians enrolled in the first two months of the program.

The Missouri Foundation for Health’s Ryan Barker blames the low numbers on problems with the healthcare.gov website, which he says only really improved in late November.

“I think a lot of people were waiting until the website improvements to sign up and pick a plan,” Barker said. “And so I think the December numbers will be a lot more telling in terms of how much interest there is and how much enrollment there is into the marketplace.”

Source: Doug Eller, Community Action Agency of St. Louis County

Annetta Pool is a state licensed Certified Application Counselor.

She's been spreading the word about the online health insurance marketplace and helping people in St. Louis County sign up.

Pool agrees that enrollment got off to a slow start.

"The system was down, late October, we were having issues," Pool said. "But starting in November, the system seemed to have gotten better, and we were able to enroll more and more people."

Pool says lately she's gone from seeing about two people a day to as many as six, and she thinks enrollment will increase even more in the New Year.

If you want your health insurance to kick in by the first of the year, you also have to pay your first premium. You have until January 10 to do that.

Data source (uninsured population): Urban Institute and Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured estimates based on the Census Bureau's March 2012 and 2013 Current Population Survey (CPS: Annual Social and Economic Supplements).

Data source (marketplace enrollment, 10/1/13-11/30/13): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience

Follow Brent Jones on Twitter: @brentajones