Healthcare signup deadline passes; some exceptions exist

Healthcare signup deadline passes; some exceptions exist

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Health care professionals say there is still a way you could get coverage, but that will only be for those who encountered technical problems while signing up or those who've experienced a life change.

According the website, a big life event could qualify you for the special enrollment period such as getting married or having a baby. However, if you did not experience a life change, or try to sign up during either open enrollment period, healthcare professionals say you will be held accountable.

"You are now a person that still doesn't have health insurance, was given the opportunity to get it, chose not to, and didn't ask for help or go down any other path to get your self some insurance," Robert Grace said.

As the Chief Financial Officer of The Grand Strand Medical Center, Robert Grace explains the consequences could be expensive.

"That is, when you go to the hospital or come to the doctor, your without any form of payment and your on the hook for full charges, which nobody should ever be in healthcare," Grace added.

Grace explained if you can't pay, the hospitals will never see the money. He adds the people who do foot the bills are all of the other Americans who are insured.

If you don't have coverage, Grace says the federal government will be able to tell come tax season. "There's a question that you have to answer, do you have healthcare insurance? And if you answer no, it's going to trigger another answer, and that's where they are going to get into the holding you accountable," Grace said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman, Adam Myrick, says that penalty could be $325 per person, or 2 percent of a person's income.

However, Grace says there are some people who simply cannot afford health insurance, or will choose not to sign up. "Or you go barren, you go without coverage, and you take your risk in doing that," Grace said.

Grace says if you ran into glitches or delays while signing up, the deadline has been extended to February 22nd and as always, he says you can start planning for next years enrollment period now by going to the Grand Strand Medical Center where they will help you choose the plan that's best for you.

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