Contact: Kelly Vence

   Office of Public Information

   (908) 820-4124



Deadline For This Period - March 31, 2014

ELIZABETH, NJ – March 3, 2014 – Mayor J. Christian Bollwage is reminding residents that the deadline to enroll in the Affordable Care Act is rapidly approaching. As of March 1, 2014, that meant there was exactly thirty (30) days left in open enrollment. Residents now have one month left to purchase health insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act also referred to as ObamaCare.

“The most important date our residents need to know is March 31, 2014. This is a significant date for two reasons: it is the last day of open enrollment and it is the deadline for avoiding the tax penalty,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “If you have not registered for health insurance yet, I urge you to do so. The City’s certified staff is ready to help provide our constituents with the help they need to get it done.”

In early October, Mayor Bollwage held a press conference to announce the City’s efforts to assist residents in the ObamaCare application process. The meeting, which attracted approximately one hundred and fifty (150) attendees, was held at Union County College in the Elizabeth I. Kellogg Building. Assemblyman Joseph Cryan; Mary Faith Chmiel, Director of the Elizabeth Public Library and Krishna H. Garlic, Director of the City’s Department of Health and Human Services, also said a few words.

To date, the City of Elizabeth has assisted hundreds of people. While appointments are mandatory, help is available Monday through Friday.

"If you miss this deadline, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period,” said Krishna H. Garlic, Director of Health and Human Services. “We launched our assistance program to make the process easier for our residents and help them explore their options to determine what they will pay and receive, before they make a choice.”

Please note these important ObamaCare deadlines:

  • Apply and enroll by March 15, 2014, to start coverage on April 1, 2014.
  • Open enrollment closes March 31, 2014. Those who apply and enroll from March 16 to March 31, 2014, will begin coverage on May 1, 2014.

If you miss this deadline, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period from October 15th to December 7, 2014, for coverage beginning January 1, 2015.  Those who fail to obtain minimum essential coverage and do not qualify for a hardship exemption will face a tax penalty, known as the shared responsibility payment. This fee will be owed when filing your 2014 federal tax return.

Once 2014 open enrollment concludes, you will not be able to buy a qualified health insurance plan until the 2015 open-enrollment period begins or unless you have a qualifying life event (e.g., change in marital status, birth or adoption of a child, loss of job-based coverage) that makes you eligible for a special enrollment period.

Any Elizabeth resident who would like assistance in enrolling can contact the Department of Health and Human Services at

908-820-4705. The City has certified navigators in both English and Spanish and staff that can help with the translation of Creole. For more information on ObamaCare, please visit or call 1-800-318-2596 to sign up on your own.