Heads up: Midnight deadline to sign up for health insurance in DC under Obamacare

D.C. health officials warn that the clock is running toward a Wednesday 11:59 p.m. deadline to buy insurance, under the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare.

“If you don’t get health insurance through your employer, and you’re buying it on your own, today’s the end of that open enrollment cycle,” said Purvee Kempf, deputy executive director with the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, also known as DC Health Link, “If you don’t, you’ll have to wait until next year.”

Kempf said the DC Health Link website provides information about the plans, and can walk residents through the enrollment process.

“You have the option to choose from 27 different health insurance plans, from Kaiser Permanente and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, and you can find a plan and budget that’s right for you,” she said.

For first-timers, the enrollment process can seem challenging, but Kempf said the bottom line is everyone can get health insurance. “If you’re separated from your employer, or they don’t offer insurance, it doesn’t matter if you have a pre-existing condition, or if you get cancer this year, everything will be covered.”

Kempf said there are a lot of options for help.

“We have extended hours at the DC Health Link call center, at (855) 532-LINK,” said Kempf, “Or, you can go in person — a lot of us still like to do that.”

The organization’s website contains a map and list of DC Health Link Enrollment Centers.

“They’ll help you answer your questions to find the plans that have your doctors or medications,” said Kempf, “So, if you really want to sit down with someone and have that conversation, you can do that.”

Bottom line, said Kempf: “Today’s the day. Don’t miss the deadline. Get yourself started. If for whatever reason you don’t make it across the finish line tonight we will help you across the finish line, and get you situated.”

The deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act in Maryland and Virginia has already passed.

State-run health exchanges, such as D.C.’s, have the option of setting a later deadline.

Editor’s note: Clarifies Purvee Kempf’s title. 


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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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