Consumers hoping to buy subsidized coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace need to make their purchase by Saturday to get coverage that takes effect March 1.
Though open enrollment lasts until March 31, customers should get it taken care of this week — or else face a complicated paperwork situation at tax time, said Carrie McLean, who heads up eHealthinsurance's customer care center.
Say a consumer waits until March 31 to buy a plan. Coverage wouldn't be effective until May 1, which means that consumer would have gone more than 90 days without insurance. To avoid possible tax penalties for a gap in coverage, the consumer would have to file paperwork seeking a hardship exemption, said McLean.
McLean added that consumers should try to finish enrollment before 3 p.m. on Saturday. That's when the Social Security computer system, which is used to verify information needed for subsidy determinations, is scheduled to go down for maintenance.