For those who made a good-faith attempt to enroll in health coverage before the Sunday deadline — but didn’t — there’s one last chance to sign up for insurance and avoid a tax fine.
Government officials and coverage advocates say the process was smooth for most consumers.
“It wasn’t like last year where there were lines around the corner, people waiting hours to see an enrollment counselor,” said Neil Deegan, Pennsylvania director for Get Covered America.
He visited two sign-up sites in Philadelphia this weekend.
“It was a pretty orderly process; people were coming through, meeting with enrollment assisters and getting covered,” he said.
Despite an overall smooth experience, there were those who did run into problems. And the government is offering an extension to people who encountered a glitch on healthcare.gov or those who experienced long delays when they phoned the government’s call center.
Consumers who sign a statement saying they started the process by Feb. 15 have until Sunday to enroll.
“They’ll have to attest to the fact that they attempted to enroll in order to qualify for this brief extension,” Deegan said.
Insurer Independence Blue Cross helped people buy insurance at two locations Sunday, the final sign-up day. Assisters were available at the company’s offices at 19th and Market streets in Philadelphia while a mobile enrollment center was parked at the Bala Cynwyd Shopping Center.
“The weather was cold, but we had a nice turnout,” said Paula Sunshine, vice president for consumer business. “Overwhelming the people that we helped face-to-face were people that were purchasing insurance for the first time.”
The company’s call center stopped taking calls at 10 p.m. Sunday.
Sunshine says the final sign-up tally is not available yet.
“We are not sharing numbers because the final step in counting the number is making sure people pay the bill,” Sunshine said. “But I can tell you that, overall, application volume was up about 50 percent over the prior week.”
The number of new Affordable Care Act enrollees statewide in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey was not available Monday.
Jim Grant, communications coordinator for the Health Insurance Marketplace in Delaware, said federal officials typically release enrollment updates each Wednesday.