The deadline for people to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is Jan. 31 — those who don’t enroll would risk being without coverage for 2016.

People without insurance will face a penalty of $695 or more when they file federal income taxes, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Families could be asked to pay more than $2,000 in fines if they don’t buy insurance through the exchange or are covered through a workplace plan.

Washington officials said they have seen an uptick in insurance enrollments as the end of open enrollment gets closer.

Since enrollment opened on Nov. 1, more than 188,000 Washington residents have selected a Qualified Health Plan for coverage, according to the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Those sign-ups represent a 30 percent increase during the same time last year.

According to Kaiser Family Foundation, 9 percent of Washingtonians remain uninsured.

Federal health officials said Wednesday that more than 11.6 million people have enrolled.

While the Obama administration’s outreach efforts have focused on the 10.5 million uninsured Americans who are eligible for coverage under the health-care law, a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Jan. 28 showed many uninsured people have no idea the deadline is approaching.

Pacific County residents on Medicare qualify for health insurance through the DSHS Long Beach Community Service Office. Other residents can pick insurance that fits their needs through the Health Plan Finder online at www.wahbexchange.org/new-customers.

After the open enrollment period ends, the only way someone can purchase coverage is if they qualify for a life event, such as moving, getting a divorce or aging out of their parent’s plan.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.