Feds extend enrollment deadline for Health Insurance Marketplace

The enrollment deadline to sign up for health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace has been extended until 11:59 p.m. today.

Because of high demand and a large number of people contacting HealthCare.gov to sign up, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services extended the deadline.

HealthCare.gov Chief Executive Officer Kevin Counihan said an estimated 1 million people left contact information on the site to hold their place in line to sign up for coverage that goes into effect Jan. 1. The additional time will allow federal officials to process those requests.

Those who tried to enroll Tuesday, which was the original deadline, but didn’t finish now have time to complete that registration, he said.

Anyone who needs help with enrollment or has questions about how to enroll should call 800-318-2696.

By Dec. 5, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported that 47,272 people in Indiana signed up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, part of 2.8 million people nationwide who had done so. Hoosiers can choose from eight health insurance providers and a total of 61 plans.

The 2016 fee for individuals who do not buy a health insurance plan and do not qualify for an exemption is at least $695 — the national average premium on the Marketplace’s Bronze plan — or 2.5 percent of a household’s income, whichever is higher.

The fee will increase every month that health insurance is not purchased.

A complete list of health insurance plans and providers, as well as information about financial assistance and exemptions, is available online at HealthCare.gov.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.