The Affordable Care Act: Enroll before March 31 deadline

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan for this year is March 31. If you have not enrolled by that date, you are at risk for paying a fine when you file your income tax return next year.

When it comes to enrolling for health insurance, Carrie Johnson, SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist reminds South Dakotans that there are many options available to them.

“This doesn’t mean you must sign up for a plan through the federal or a state health insurance exchange,” Johnson said. “If you are already covered under a workplace plan, Medicare, Medicaid, or a private policy that meets the law’s requirements you do not need to do anything.”

Johnson added that if you are eligible for Medicaid, you can still sign up anytime, with no deadline.

“You will want to check with a local Department of Social Services office ( to get assistance with the process,” she said.

Also, Johnson said if you are currently covered and lose your coverage during the year, you can still go to the exchange to find a new policy at that time.

“There are also special circumstances to the open enrollment period if there is a qualifying change in your family – like if you have a baby, get married, move to another state, etc,” Johnson said. “You can also choose to purchase insurance outside the marketplace, not all insurance companies are in the marketplace but still offer health insurance coverage. Just contact your local insurance agent.”

To learn more, Johnson urges folks to visit