WASHINGTON (NBC) – Sunday is the deadline to get health insurance or pay a fine.
It is the second year of the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” as many call it.
Millions of Americans who lost jobs in the past year and don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare are trying to figure out how to beat that deadline.
If you don’t have health insurance at work and you’re under 65, you’ve got two more days to select a health plan or get hit with a penalty.
RELATED LINK | Get personal help applying for health coverage
Last year, a 30-year-old Maryland woman had health insurance through work, but she left that job. Now, she’s trying to find a plan in her state health exchange.
“I needed to be covered. It’s not about the penalty.” Lady Dianne
The penalty is more this year. It is $325 per person or two percent of your income if you’re under 65 and not covered by your employer, Medicare or Medicaid.
RELATED LINK | Browse coverage options
About 28 million people are eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. So far, only about a third have signed up.
Experts say don’t just renew last year’s policy. They say there could be a better plan for you.
“It really depends on where you live, and which plan you bought last year. So it could be that your plan went up quite a bit, or even down quite a bit. So for that reason, it’s important to shop around,” said Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Policy Analyst, Cynthia Cox
That’s because prices have changed. In Anchorage, Alaska. A 40 year old, non-smoker, making $30,000 a year, pays $100 more a month for a silver plan and that’s before federal tax credits kick in. In Jackson, Mississippi that same person would save more than $100 a month.
“The plan that looks the cheapest on the surface may not actually be the least expensive if you need to use a lot of healthcare,” said Cox.
Health navigators say they’re seeing big crowds with just this weekend left to enroll.
Facts about the Affordable Care Act
THEN: Just 34% of public said the health-care law is a good idea (Jan. 2014 NBC/WSJ poll)
NOW: Just 36% of public said the health-care law is a good idea (Oct. 2014 NBC/WSJ poll)
Premiums are mixed – some are higher, some are lower, some are unchanged
THEN: $250 (2014 monthly premium for a silver plan before tax credit)
NOW: $211 (2015 monthly premium)
THEN: $433 (2014)
NOW: $547 (2015)
THEN: $242 (2014)
NOW: $242 (2015)
Obamacare enrollment is up (via state and federal exchanges)
THEN: 3.3 million (total that had selected – though not paid for – plans as of Feb. 1, 2014)
NOW: 9.9 million (total that so far has selected – though not paid for – plans before Feb. 15 deadline)
Uninsured rate has declined
THEN: 17.1% (4th Q of 2013)
NOW: 12.9% (4th Q of 2014)
SOURCE: Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/180425/uninsured-rate-sinks.aspx