Feb. 15 is the last day to get a 2015 ‘Obamacare’ health insurance plan

SHARE Feb. 15 is the last day to get a 2015 ‘Obamacare’ health insurance plan
SHARE Feb. 15 is the last day to get a 2015 ‘Obamacare’ health insurance plan

The 2015 open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace ends Feb. 15 — that’s a week from Sunday.

The online marketplace, at HealthCare.gov, is where Illinoisans are supposed to be able to shop for more affordable health insurance plans for 2015, with the help of tax subsidies.

Consumers who miss that deadline will have to wait until next year’s open enrollment period to buy an insurance plan through the marketplace — unless they qualify for a special enrollment period.

“Feb. 15 is the last day to enroll in health coverage, so we’re urging everyone to beat the rush and enroll today,” said Jennifer Koehler, executive director for Get Covered Illinois.

As of Jan. 30, from the time the open enrollment period began on Nov. 15, more than 296,000 Illinois consumers had selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled in the 2014 insurance plan they had through the Affordable Care Act.That surpasses last year’s total of more than 217,000 people choosing a plan in Illinois, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Of the296,293 Illinois consumers selecting a plan so far, 80 percent received tax credit help from the federal government to pay for their monthly premiums.

But those tax credits may soon be in danger.

The U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to weigh in on whether those subsidies are legal in more than 30 states that have a federally run marketplace, including Illinois. Arguments will begin to be heard in March.

The Obama administration has not said what will happen if the Supreme Court rules the tax credits aren’t legal. But for now, they stressed, that consumers will continue getting them.

Individuals earning $11,670 to $46,680 a year are supposed to qualify for a tax credit that would help them pay their premiums, if purchased through the marketplace on HealthCare.gov.For a family of four, that income eligibility range is about $23,850 to $95,400.

The penalty for not having health insurance — whether it be through work or through the marketplace — will be 2 percent of income or $325 per person next year, up from $90 or 1 percent this year. It will continue to increase.

When people applying for Medicaid are included in the total, more than 800,000 Illinoisans have gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act so far, the state said. In addition to creating the online marketplace, the Affordable Care Act also widened the parameters for who could qualify for the state-based health program.

People trained as “navigators” are available to help people learn about the Affordable Care Act and help obtain health care coverage. Those wanting help buying an insurance plan or applying for Medicaid – which accepts applicants year-round – can find a navigator in their area at getcoveredillinois.gov/get-help/ or by calling (866) 311-1119.

Many navigators in Illinois – paid by the federal or state governments – have reported that they will have longer hours up to and including the last day of enrollment.

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