Friday is the last day to enroll for subsidized private coverage in 39 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov website.
For millions of consumers eligible to enroll time runs out on Dec. 15. Some glitches were reported Monday and Thursday and Friday are expected to be the heaviest days and may slow traffic on the website.
A slow website may in turn lead to long hold times at the federal call center.
For most people, this is the last opportunity to secure coverage for 2018, or switch from an existing plan. Those who fail to sign up on time could face a penalty and have to wait until next year to obtain coverage.
There is one exception -- people living in hurricane-affected areas can get an extension to sign up by Dec. 31 by contacting the HealthCare.gov call center. That could make a difference in states such Florida, Texas and Georgia.
If you have questions, call 1-800-318-2596 to speak with trained representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For individuals needing further assistance, Parkland Health & Hospital System will extend hours of availability of certified application counselors during the final week of Marketplace enrollment. Counselors can answer questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provide help enrolling in the Marketplace.
The Business Office is located on the first floor of the old Parkland OPC, 5201 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas. Extended hours are 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 11 through Friday, Dec. 15.
In collaboration with the Community Council of Greater Dallas, certified health insurance navigators are available during the enrollment period at the following Parkland Community Oriented Primary Care health centers to provide enrollment assistance:
- Irving Health Center, 1800 N. Britain Road, Irving - Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Garland Health Center, 802 Hopkins, Garland - Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Hatcher Station Health Center, 4600 Scyene Road, Dallas - Tuesday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Southeast Dallas Health Center, 9202 Elam Road, Dallas - Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Most people must have qualifying health coverage or pay a fee for the months they don't have insurance. Health coverage exemptions are available based on a number of circumstances, including certain hardships, some life events, health coverage or financial status and membership in some groups. Additional information on exemptions is available at healthcare.gov.
In addition, a special enrollment period (SEP) outside of the yearly open enrollment exists for those with certain life events including losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby or adopting a child. If an individual qualifies for an SEP, they usually have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan. If they miss that window, they have to wait until the next open enrollment period to apply.
Those who may need assistance can contact Parkland's Business Office at 214-590-4900. For more information about Parkland's services, visit parklandhospital.com.