Affordable Care Act Deadline Extended - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Affordable Care Act Deadline Extended

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By Alexa Williams
NewsWest 9 

ODESSA - If you haven't signed up for health insurance, you're not alone, but the countdown is on for Americans to get covered under the Affordable Care Act.

"In the state of Texas, the state chose not to expand medicaid which means people have to go out onto healthcare.gov and enroll and sign up for health insurance," J.R. Edmiston, Director of Patient Financial Services at Medical Center Hospital, said. 

With the state's decision to not expand medicaid, some changes were made right here in the Basin to get more people insured. 

"Here at Medical Center what we did was try to expand our county guidelines to try to help bridge the gap here locally and we have seen an increase in enrollment for those people who would have been under the Medicaid program," Edmiston said.

But if you're one of the many Americans who has not been able to sign up for health insurance yet, you're in luck, the timeline has been extended.

"As of right now, the government has said if you sign up between now and March 31, you wont be penalized. We won't enforce a penalty for you tax year 2014, which means your next years taxes," Edmiston said.
     
If you fail to sign up, you will be penalized which means you'll have to pay either 1% of your income or $95.00 a month per individual, whichever penalty is more, is what you'll be charged. But once you are able to get insured, there are a few more things you have to do in order to make sure you are fully covered under the new law. 

"You have to pay your premiums. For an individual who signs up for the plan, you can go sign up but until you actually make that payment, your insurance is not in effect," Edmiston said.

When it comes down to it, whether you decide to get covered or not, the decision is all yours.    
"Ultimately, the individual is going to have to weigh the penalty versus what it's going to cost to get the insurance," Edmiston said.