Illinois Prepares For Last Minute Insurance Crunch

Mar 31, 2014

Credit Get Covered Illinois

Illinois officials are making a final push to enroll residents in the state's Health Insurance Marketplace.

Those who don't have coverage must sign up by midnight Monday, or face federal tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act. After that, only people with special circumstances will be able to get coverage that meets the law's requirements. The next enrollment period doesn't begin until November.

State health care spokesman Mike Claffey says Illinois' program has extended its call center hours to prepare for the last minute rush of customers.

"So there will be help available, by phone, until midnight. Also, we have a number of community organizations that we're working with around the state, and many of them will have late hours," Claffey said.

The "Get Covered Illinois" website has information on how to find an insurance navigator in every part of the state. Through February, nearly 114-thousand people have signed up for coverage through Illinois' health-insurance marketplace.

Those without insurance can be fined either 1 percent of their income or 95 dollars, whichever is greater, when they file their taxes next year. Low- and middle-income residents can get subsidies to help buy policies through the exchanges.