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March 31, 2014

Monday is the deadline to sign up for health law

ATLANTA —

Monday is the deadline to sign up for private health insurance in the new online markets created by President Barack Obama's health care law. So far, about 4 out of every 5 people enrolling have qualified for tax credits to reduce the cost of their premiums.

Here's what you need to know:

• The sign-up website stumbled on deadline day. Visitors to HealthCare.gov on Monday morning saw messages that the site was down for maintenance. At times the visitors were also directed to a virtual waiting room — a feature designed to ease the strain on the site during periods of heavy use. Officials attributed the problem to a software bug.

• The deadline is at midnight EDT for the states where the federal government is running the sign-up website; states running their own exchanges set their own deadlines.

• You can sign up online by going to HealthCare.gov or your state insurance exchange. If you don't know what your state marketplace is called, HealthCare.gov will direct you.

• You can call 1-800-318-2596 to sign up by phone or get help from an enrollment specialist.

• Check online for sign-up centers that may be open locally, offering in-person assistance.

• If you started an application by Monday but didn't finish, perhaps because of errors, missing information or website glitches, you can take advantage of a grace period. The government says it will accept paper applications until April 7 and take as much time as necessary to handle unfinished cases on HealthCare.gov.

• Be prepared for the possibility of long wait times.

 

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