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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: March 27, 2014


NEW CASTLE (March 27, 2014 - Delawareans who start but are unable to complete their enrollment in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan by the end of open enrollment March 31 will have until mid-April to finish their enrollments for coverage effective in 2014, according to guidance the federal government issued this week.

The announcement means that individuals will not be able to buy marketplace plans and get covered in 2014 if they start their applications April 1 or later, unless they otherwise qualify for a special enrollment period. The Affordable Care Act requires all people who can afford to buy insurance to get covered or face a possible tax penalty.

"It's like being in line to vote when the polls close and still being allowed to vote," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. She urged residents who need insurance and who want to avoid the possible tax penalty to heed the March 31 deadline and enroll as soon as possible, either directly through the federal website, www.HealthCare.gov , or with help available through the state's marketplace information website, www.HealthCare.gov .

The next open enrollment period begins Nov. 15, 2014, for coverage effective in 2015.

Special enrollment periods outside open enrollment typically are triggered by "qualifying life events"such as:

The federal guidance issued this week included other limited circumstances in which individuals with complex cases related to a wide variety of "system errors" might qualify for a special enrollment period. These circumstances cover people who were found ineligible for Medicaid or CHIP, but whose applications were not transferred to the marketplace in time for them to enroll in a plan.

Individuals must attest that they tried to enroll in coverage through either the marketplace or the state's Medicaid or CHIP agency, either online or over the phone, by March 31 and didn't complete enrollment in marketplace coverage because of a problem that wasn't their fault.

Residents are reminded that they can enroll anytime during the year for coverage through Medicaid or CHIP - there is no limited enrollment period for these programs.

For more information on enrolling through the marketplace, including a list of enrollment-assistance locations staffed by Delaware's marketplace guides through March 31, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com.

To enroll directly, go to www.HealthCare.gov . or call 1 (800) 318-2596.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.