Deadline Extended to Enroll for Health Insurance Under the ACA

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The first deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act is changing.

Tens of thousands of Virginians have applied, but far fewer have actually picked a plan to meet their medical needs and suit their wallets.

The first deadline was set for midnight. That's been pushed back through Tuesday to cover people signing up across all time zones. Signing up guarantees health insurance coverage starting January 1 - but people who don't meet the deadline are not going to face penalties.

Jessica McCoy is one of the nearly 5,000 Virginians who picked an insurance plan through the "Obamacare" marketplace. More than 90,000 individuals applied for coverage as of the most recent numbers released this month.

McCoy started her own consulting business in Charlottesville last year after working in the corporate world. She went without health insurance until enrolling on healthcare.gov last week.

"It's affordable enough that it makes more sense to pay for the insurance than it does to gamble with my health," said McCoy.

The CvilleEnrolls project says its coalition has helped between 80 to 100 people successfully sign up for coverage that will kick in January 1.

"It's ongoing enrollment. People can go on the website every day and sign up. They don't have to have assistance. If it's something they're comfortable navigating they can do it themselves," said Jessie Ray of Cville Enrolls.

Enrolling after the Tuesday deadline through the middle of January means coverage won't start until February 1. People who fail to sign up for coverage by March 31 will face penalties.

The CvilleEnrolls group plans to keep offering help and answering questions through that deadline.

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