By Amy Payne -
Today is kinda-sorta the deadline to sign up for Obamacare, though if you want to say you’re “in line” for coverage, the administration is okay with that. (If your state is running its own Obamacare exchange, it may be keeping its deadline firm, so check with your state.)
When we wrote about the Obamacare deadline and penalty recently, a reader brought up a great question: Can you still buy health insurance after March 31?
She asked, “If I chose to go uninsured, but end up with a massive medical issue,” could she “just buy insurance and be covered, you know, since they must cover pre-existing conditions”?
The answer is yes. If you don’t have Obamacare-compliant health insurance by today, you could pay the penalty for this year—depending on the amount of flexibility the administration decides to offer in its latest delay—or you could still purchase a policy anytime in the individual market outside the Obamacare exchanges. The amount of time you go without coverage determines your penalty—or as the IRS calls it, your “shared responsibility payment.”
That’s why the Obamacare system has a mandate forcing everyone to buy insurance, a (somewhat) set enrollment period, and a financial penalty to back it up.
If you don’t already have employer-sponsored insurance or coverage through a government health program, your options are the Obamacare exchange or the individual marketplace. Policies in both have to comply with all of Obamacare’s rules and benefit mandates, so the big difference is the taxpayer-funded subsidies.
The rest is at Heritage Foundation's The Foundry.