ACA Open Enrollment Ends March 31

Monday, March 31, 2014, is the deadline for open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148). Although over 5 million Americans have enrolled in health insurance through the federal and state-based Marketplaces since October 1, 2013, the federal government is short of its stated goal of 6 million enrollments by the end of March 2014. Many individuals who are eligible for coverage have not yet completed enrollment and are at risk of being unable to purchase such coverage until the next open enrollment period begins. Furthermore, individuals who remain uninsured may be subject to individual mandate tax penalties.

Promotion Efforts

The Obama administration spent much of March promoting the ACA. Initiatives include: #GeeksGetCovered, focused on raising awareness and encouraging healthcare enrollment among geeks, innovators, and entrepreneurs; a town hall appearance discussing the Affordable Care Act and how the law benefits the Latino community;  and the #YourMomCares campaign, with mothers of celebrities sharing why, as mothers, they think it’s so important that everyone — and especially young people — make sure they’re covered. Much of the promotion aims at healthy young Americans, and uses a sports theme. Professional basketball player LeBron James appeared in an ad warning this audience that they could be hurt at any time, and the White House set up an “ACA Bracket” to capitalize on March Madness. Members of the Administration, including the First Lady and Vice President Biden, have made appearances on television and radio shows; President Obama’s visit to comedian Zach Galifianakis’ show “Between Two Ferns” led to a 40 percent increase in visits to HealthCare.gov.

Enrollment Tips

The administration also provided a number of tips to help individuals have the best possible enrollment experience using HealthCare.gov. From basic concepts such as necessary computer software and the optimal times of day to use the website to information about how to choose between available insurance plans, the Marketplace tips cover many aspects of enrollment.