Health Team

Insurance enrollment deadline approaching under health care law

Posted December 16, 2013

— People looking to obtain health insurance for 2014 under the Affordable Care Act have fewer shopping days left than those seeking to buy a last-minute Christmas gift.

To get coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, people must enroll by Dec. 23 and pay their initial premium by Dec. 31.

The online marketplace includes a payment button so people can pay the premium when they enroll, with the money redirected to the insurance company. Some people have complained that the payment button didn't work for them, so a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina spokesman said people can also pay the premium by mail or simply wait for the insurer to send a bill.

A spokesman for Coventry Health Care of the Carolinas, the only other firm to offer health plans in North Carolina through the online exchange, said that the company sends out a bill as soon as it receives enrollment information. Coventry is working to follow-up with customers to encourage them to pay by Dec. 31, he said.

The Obama administration has asked insurers to cover people on Jan. 1 even if they haven't yet paid their premium, but it's not required.

The Blue Cross spokesman said the company plans to be "flexible" to ensure those who signed up by the deadline are covered.

The rate of inaccuracies on is declining, but a federal analysis shows about 15,000 sign-up forms were never sent to insurance companies. The error is blamed on technical problems on the site. People are advised to check with their insurance company after enrolling to make sure that their information was received.

NEW website Insurance enrollment isn't complete without premium

Despite various problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, faith leaders in the Triangle are encouraging people to sign up. They say it is the moral responsibility of churches – as part of their ministry of healing – to help the uninsured and under-insured access affordable health care.

“Sadly, the roll-out was marred by technological problems that should not have happened, while its opponents threw every possible roadblock in its way," said Rev. George Reed, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches. "But now it seems the website is mostly fixed, and thousands of people who have not had affordable health care are getting enrolled.”

Pastors with the Council of Churches called on congregations to do all they can to help their members know the requirements and benefits of the law, noting that it will enable the 1.3 million North Carolinians who don't have insurance to get coverage.

"We do understand that there have been some problems but we’re not concerned about the problems. We're more concerned about how do we move forward and how can we help those who are left behind, for no other reasons besides political motivations and besides some other things that we don't feel as though our God would be pleased with," said Rev. Kenneth Cooper, pastor of Christian Faith Baptist Church in Raleigh.

The Council of Churches is working with Enroll America, a private nonprofit group dedicated to letting people know about health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. Enroll America claims that six in 10 uninsured Americans can get coverage through the online marketplace for less than $100 a month.

“For these uninsured North Carolinians, this is not about politics or a website," said Sorien Schmidt, state director for Enroll America. "This is about having affordable insurance available, often for the first time in years. They will no longer stay awake at night wondering if they’re going to go bankrupt from an unexpected accident or illness.”


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  • LetsBeFair Dec 17, 2013

    This was the worst blunder in US history. Lied about the plan and it has caused everyone to pay far more than anticipated. He said it would be cheaper and we'd get to keep our own doctor. HE LIED!

  • LetsBeFair Dec 17, 2013

    That's much better than the $1200 for ONE woman without Obamacare!!!'

    where is that figure? I have good knowledge of insurance -- this is not true. Its a plain fact the President himself is not denying.

  • LetsBeFair Dec 17, 2013

    ... as everyone who voted for Obama are saying, 'YES WE CAN!' ... huh, I have to pay for what?!? ... the man said it was FREE! I aint paying nothing!!

  • shecuban Dec 17, 2013

    "A family of four with a 3K deductible is only $1,700 month. Only 23+ K total a year before ObamaCare Insurance starts paying."

    That's much better than the $1200 for ONE woman without Obamacare!!!'

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance Dec 17, 2013

    Did I also pay for my insurance or did I have the Government steal from someone else to pay for my insurance?- whatelseisnew

    Says the person who drove on “stolen” roads this morning or sent their kids to schools paid for with my “stolen” tax dollars…..but EVERYONE paying into those things are different?

    It’s only socialism if Fox News says it is…

  • whatelseisnew Dec 17, 2013

    ""Most people that say this law is stupid enjoyED the benefit of health care..." - lets_b_real79"

    Lets see, the last health care that I had, DID insurance pay the bill or ME. Oh I paid it. Did I also pay for my insurance or did I have the Government steal from someone else to pay for my insurance? OH, I paid for it. Health Care is readily available WITH OR WITHOUT insurance. Stop being greedy and selfish. If you need medical care, obtain it and pay for it. If you are unwilling to use YOUR money, I have zero interest in having my money stolen from me by the Government to pay for selfish and greedy people.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 17, 2013

    "guess everyone who is a republican does not know about romney care"

    Why do so many people bring this up. Stupid ideas come from both parties all of the time. Stupid behavior comes from both parties all of the time. That is why we have over 17 trillion in debt and the fools in Congress just agreed to a budget deal that continues to add to the pile.

    "do people who will never own a home or any real property worry about hospital bills?"

    Nope you pay their bills, thanks again to Government foolishness. Also the millions of illegals do not have to care either. You also pay for their bills and will continue to do so. Our Federal Government is still not interesting in enforcing those laws and securing the borders. But hey FINE Americans for not buying something that is unaffordable, that they are hiring extra people to collect.

  • stymieindurham Dec 16, 2013

    guess everyone who is a republican does not know about romney care

    And your point is?????? Don't lie now.

  • mike275132 Dec 16, 2013

    Quick Obama Voters Sign up for ObamaCare !

    A family of four with a 3K deductible is only $1,700 month.
    Only 23+ K total a year before ObamaCare Insurance starts paying.

    Very "Affordable"

    Change We Can Believe In !

  • midnightclay Dec 16, 2013

    Who Cares - Not me - we won't be signing up for this mess. We will be honored to pay the fine.