KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The deadline to enroll for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is approaching and Nicole Barnett is one of several people setting up an appointment at Swope Health Services.
“I'm so grateful that I was able to get it done just right under the deadline,” Barnett said. “I'm just really concerned that the program may be ending and that this will be my last chance to get in and also the fines keep getting bigger each year.”
According to Get America Covered, federal data shows about 4.7 million Americans selected policies through Dec. 9.
That’s nearly 650,000 more than at the same time last year.
In the state of Missouri, numbers are also up.
“Compared to last year it was 61,000,” Swope Health Outreach Enrollment Specialist Angela Rogers said. “This year is 78,000 so people are getting enrolled.”
Rogers said she and other outreach enrollment specialists at Swope Health have seen more than 210 people.
“I hate turning people away and I've been having that,” Rogers said. “People have been wanting to get enrolled and I'm like I'm sorry I have appointments, and I had some that refused to leave until I was able to see them.”
After the deadline, there is the possibility of enrolling during a special enrollment period, but there are certain qualifications that have to be met.
“If you recently got married, if you recently lost your job, recently lost health care coverage, you can still get enrolled, but unfortunately we don't have a lot of special enrollment periods, so this open enrollment period is very important that you take the opportunity to do it,” Rogers said.
If not, it could cost you.
“For those that meet the qualifications, to where you're supposed to have health coverage and you choose to make a decision not to get the health care coverage, then yes you will be penalized,” Rogers said. “It’s $695 a person or 2.5 percent of your income. Whichever is greatest.”
Open enrollment ends at 11:59 p.m. Friday for residents in the 39 states that use federal exchange. To learn how to enroll, go to healthcare.gov.
Current ACA enrollees who want to remain on the individual market should go to healthcare.gov to view options and select a plan. If they don’t they’ll be automatically re-enrolled in their same policy.