Monday, December 23, 2013

How many will miss Monday deadline?

Monday is the deadline by which those of us who haven’t been able to afford adequate health insurance were supposed to use the benefits of a new federal law and sign up for coverage.

Some will get hit w/ penalties for lack of coverage
Of course, there are many of us (myself included) who have failed to meet the deadline – people must have signed up for a plan and made the initial payment by Monday – in order to have coverage come Jan. 1 AND avoid a potential penalty from the Internal Revenue Service when we fill out our income tax returns for 2013.

NOT THAT WE’VE failed to comply with the Affordable Care Act, which allows people to keep using either the federal website or the websites created by various states through March 31 in order to sign up with an insurance company for coverage.

In all likelihood, I will deal with this issue for myself (as a freelance writer, I don’t have anybody offering me an insurance policy as a benefit – even though the entities I do work for expect me at times to perform labor similar to that done by a full-time employee) in coming weeks.

As I suspect many others will do.

President Barack Obama said last week that in California alone, some 15,000 people per day are signing up for insurance coverage. And that some 2 million people will have health insurance Jan. 1 that would not have had it otherwise.

OF COURSE, THE fact that there were glitches in the process for signing up when it began Nov. 1 (and that political people with ideological hang-ups about the idea that all people ought to have some health care coverage were more than willing to enhance the confusion) means that many people still have not been able to get around to dealing with the issue.

Actually, I wonder how much of a rush there will be come Monday from people who hope to avoid those IRS penalties (I’m not sure exactly what they will be) by signing up AND making the initial payment.

Which will all have to be done by the end of business Monday. It could mean a rush of people similar to the mess we get every April 15 for people determined to get their tax returns filed on time to avoid penalties.

OBAMA: Easing 'frustration" in Hawaii
It also makes me think that many people will get frustrated because they will fall short and miss the Monday deadline.

IF I WERE a conspiracy-theorist type of person, I’d wonder if the IRS was determined to have people fail to meet the deadline. Because then there are penalties that will be charged to people that I’m sure some officials already are counting as revenue for the federal government.

As much as I hate the thought of having to pay the penalty, I’m accepting the fact that it will be much less stressful for me now to just deal with it come April.

Which is why I’m not going anywhere near the Illinois website for signing up for health coverage on Monday.

Obama last week said health care website problems were “a source of great frustration.” Of course, he made this comment just before he and the first family took off for their annual Hawaii holiday vacation.

WHILE THOSE OF us remaining in Chicago cope with the wet and snowy weather conditions that hit much of the nation this weekend and threaten to give us not so much a “white” Christmas as a wet-and-sloppy one!

Hoping and wishing that I can resolve my insurance situation sometime during the week between Christmas and the New Year holidays is my goal – one boosted in particular by the fact that for a freelance writer, this is usually the dead week where I struggle to cough up copy that someone will actually pay money for.


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