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Starting January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to buy health insurance. Those responsible for obtaining individual and family coverage on their own, as opposed to through an employer, must now purchase health plans during an open-enrollment period. Those who do not obtain minimum essential coverage may be subject to a tax penalty known as the shared responsibility payment.
Knowing key dates and deadlines can help you avoid the fine and ensure you have health insurance when you need it. Enrollment deadlines for 2014 coverage effective dates are as follows:
Open enrollment closes March 31, 2014—deadline extended
Americans are allowed a single coverage gap of less than three consecutive months in one year without facing the shared responsibility payment. Previously, this meant you needed to enroll by February 15 and have coverage effective March 1, even though open enrollment ended March 31.
However, the Obama administration extended the 2014 deadline due to problems with the federal website HealthCare.gov. Now, if you enroll by March 31, you will not be subject to a penalty, even though your coverage will not begin until May 1.
What happens if you miss open enrollment?
If you miss open enrollment, you will have to wait until 2015 open enrollment to buy an individual major medical plan fulfilling minimum essential coverage requirements. This applies to plans sold on and off the state-based and federal facilitated health insurance exchanges. If you miss open enrollment, it is likely experienced a coverage gap exceeding a single period of less than months and will need to pay the shared responsibility payment when filing your 2014 taxes.
However, if you have a qualifying life event such as getting married, losing coverage due to situations such as divorce or job loss, relocation to an area with different health plans, having a baby or adopting a child, you have access to a special enrollment period. In most cases, special enrollment lasts 60 days from the qualifying life event.
When does 2015 open enrollment begin?
The proposed 2015 open-enrollment period will run from November 15, 2014, through February 15, 2015.
If you have questions or concerns about deadlines and obtaining coverage, visit your state’s marketplace website to find an agent, advisor or exchange-based helper.
Need temporary coverage?
A short-term medical insurance plan can help you get by until your Obamacare coverage kicks in or bridge the gap should you miss open enrollment. Please note: temporary plans do not fulfill the minimum essential coverage requirement; however, they do provide health and financial protection in between major medical policies.
Click here to learn more about temporary health plans. Visit healthedeals.com for a quick quote, or contact a healthedeals.com health insurance agent at 888-839-7679 for information and assistance.