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With today's Obamacare deadline, state health insurers anticipate last-minute sign-ups

Although today’s deadline to sign up for health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, known to many as Obamacare, has been extended for some people, health insurers are still anticipating some last-minute scurrying in Massachusetts.

President Barack Obama.  Credit: Reuters President Barack Obama's signature health care legislation hits an important deadline today.
Credit: Reuters

Although today’s deadline to sign up for health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, known to many as Obamacare, has been extended for some people, health insurers are still anticipating some last-minute scurrying in Massachusetts.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that uninsured people who have tried to apply for health insurance through the federal marketplace but encountered difficulty will have until April 15 to finish the enrollment process. Those who fail to sign up face a tax penalty of a minimum of $95 or as much as 1 percent of your salary.

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For insurers, this means the next two weeks will be very busy, but not nearly as busy as other states.

“We expect volume to increase over the next two weeks, but compared to other states Massachusetts’ backlog isn’t anywhere near as significant because we have a high insured rate of around 98 percent,” says Kristin Lewis, vice president of government affairs and public policy at Tufts Health Plan, which is based in Watertown.

The high rate of those with insurance is a result of the 2006 Massachusetts Health Reform Act, which funneled the majority of residents into insurance coverage.

Lewis said she couldn’t speculate on whether citizens can expect another new deadline after this.

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