The Obamacare deadline is here.
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If you buy your own health insurance, today is the last day to sign up for 2018 coverage in the majority of states—but there are a few exceptions including states that do their own thing and people who were affected by major hurricanes this fall.
It's a little confusing so here's the backstory: In previous years under the Affordable Care Act, people could sign up for health plans until January 31, but the Trump administration cut this so-called open enrollment period in half, just one of its many acts of Obamacare sabotage. But some states run their own sign-up websites and can thereby set their own enrollment periods. Eleven states and Washington DC do this, and almost all of them have chosen to extend the sign-up period.
Here's a list of the ones that have:
California: December 22 for coverage effective January 1; January 19 for February 1 coverage; January 31 for March 1 coverage
Connecticut: December 22 for January 1 coverage
Colorado: January 12 for February 1 coverage
District of Columbia: January 15 for February 1 coverage; January 31 for March 1 coverage
Maryland: December 22 for January 1 coverage
Massachusetts: December 23 for January 1 coverage; January 23 for February 1 coverage
Minnesota: December 20 for January 1 coverage; January 14 for February 1 coverage
New York: January 15 for February 1 coverage; January 31 for March 1 coverage
Rhode Island: December 31 for January 1 coverage
Washington state: January 15 for February 1 coverage
It is also not the last day to sign up for Obamacare for people who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. People who live in (or lived in at the time of the hurricanes) one of the counties that FEMA declared eligible for “individual assistance” or “public assistance” have until December 31 to buy health insurance. Louise Norris of healthinsurance.org says that includes the entire states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, plus 47 counties in Texas. It also includes parts of Louisiana and Alabama, plus Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
If you don't live in any of these places, you have until 11:59 PM local time tonight to sign up to be covered starting in January. Otherwise, you can't buy your own health plan until enrollment for 2019.
But people who have big changes in their lives in 2018 like getting married, having a baby, moving, or losing other health coverage can sign up for a plan or make changes outside of the standard sign-up window in what's known as a special enrollment period. Head's up that you have to move fast if you're going to take advantage of this option: you usually have 60 days from the qualifying event to enroll.