The long-anticipated (and perhaps long-dreaded) deadline for healthcare enrollment via the Affordable Care Act is tonight at midnight. A reminder (above) is up on the HHS.gov website with the note that “Across the country, 6 out of 10 uninsured Americans can get covered for $100 per month or even less – some for a lot less.”
The site had a morning malfunction, with the Healthcare.gov site coming up with a note to visitors that it was “down for maintenance.” A spokesperson for the site said that there is “regular nightly maintenance” that was extended because of technical difficulties. Politico says the down time was nearly six hours, from 3:20am to about 9am.
There has been a six-month window for enrollment in the new healthcare system. But customers aren’t fully enrolled until they make their first payment. About seven million people have already signed up — exceeding the revised goal. And last week, 2.5 million people phoned the call center, a record. There has also been an extension for those who need it. If you can show that you tried to sign up and were unsuccessful, you have until April 15. Many states are also offering extensions, according to Politico.
The Washington Post reports that with the closing of this first phase of the ACA’s implementation, there will be further confrontations between Dems and the GOP going forward, whether it’s about rising premiums, the official numbers, or whether the law is really working. There are also cases that will make their way through the courts that could stymie the law.
There have been reports from California that fewer than three percent of the people who have enrolled identify as African American, but about 17 percent of the state’s African Americans are uninsured. Many have done without for a while, so getting them to enroll has been a challenge. Overall, 21 percent of African Americans younger than 65 lack health coverage. Center for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show that 14 percent of African Americans (about 5.5 million) are in fair or poor health.
Local groups like churches and advocacy organizations like the National Medical Association, which counts 37,000 black doctors among its members, have been reaching out to the black community to encourage enrollment and share information. Celebrities like Lil Kim and Magic Johnson have also been spreading the word.