Don't let misleading headlines fool you into missing a January 1st coverage date. Just do it.
The Washington Post has a nice big headline telling everyone that the deadline for enrolling in health insurance with a January 1st effective date has been 'quietly changed' to tomorrow. That's not exactly true.
If you were to log on to the website or call the call center tomorrow, you would be able to enroll, but not necessarily with a January 1st effective date.
If, on the other hand, you were on the website, had created an account and were in the process of selecting your plan and happened to hit "send" at 12:01 AM on December 24th, you would have been considered to have enrolled on December 23rd in time for January 1st.
Oops! You hit "send" but traffic overwhelmed the site and you couldn't finish your enrollment and got an error message instead. You went back later to try again, picked your plan and finished your enrollment. You would be covered on January 1st provided the insurer agrees.
Or, you waited until Christmas Day, after the packages were opened and Christmas dinner was busy raising your cholesterol levels by a factor of ten. All was quiet, calm and peaceful, and that enrollment went through like a knife on butter, smooth as glass. Congratulations! You've enrolled, but your coverage won't begin until February 1st in most cases.
It's human nature to wait until the last minute. Even the president is enrolling today. I'll cut him some slack since he's been pretty busy up to now, but he really shouldn't have procrastinated.
If you haven't already enrolled, just do it, and do it now. Open a new browser window, go to your state exchange or Healthcare.gov and get it done.
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