MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The deadline to sign up for health insurance to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act has come and gone.
Those who waited until the last minute ran into major road blocks on the healthcare.gov website due to computer glitches which stalled the process of signing up throughout the day.
But while the deadline has passed, many can still enroll into a private insurance plan through the Federal Marketplace.
For example, people who have a life changing event like the birth of a child or a marriage. Special exceptions will also be granted for people who were hospitalized, victims of a natural disaster or ran into specific technical problems with enrollment.
Anyone who believes they have a special exception can call the Marketplace Call center at (800) 318-2596.
Also, a recording at that number says all those who called the call center and left a message before the midnight deadline will retain their place in line and will receive a call back to enroll, even though the deadline has passed.
Those who signed up on the site in time, but didn’t complete their enrollment will have two more weeks to choose their plan and finish the process.
Not being able to finish the sign up process was a common problem Monday night at the Mall of the Americas where thousands of people filled a vacant store to meet with agents who could help them navigate their enrollment.
Come Tuesday morning, the website was still having issues. Some of those who went to complete their enrollment found their accounts locked, with no explanation.
Wilfredo Martinez and his wife waited at the help center in the Mall for three hours on Monday trying to beat the deadline to sign up for affordable insurance. They have five children covered under Medicaid – but they are not. They managed to register but could not finish their enrollment.
Tuesday, they came back to try again. After 2 and a half hours of being locked out, they managed continue enrollment where they left off.
Even help center organizers are often at a loss of the steps to take when the website has a glitch.
“There’s no guidance,” complained Ignacio Gonzalez, the president of Sunshine Life and Health Advisors, the private company that is hosting these help centers. “We had over 2000 people yesterday at this location, we have the Westland Mall location too and the Broward Mall and we don’t know what to tell them.”
Gonzalez said his team will remain at the mall until 9 p.m. on Tuesday to help people complete their registration, or who tried to register by the deadline but couldn’t.
Those who failed to sign up for insurance face a penalty of $95 per person per year or 1% of their yearly household income, whichever is higher.