ACA Deadlines for 2014 and What They Mean to Your Health Insurance Enrollment
You’ve shopped around the Marketplace and made your selection. Or maybe you’ve been waiting for the smoke to clear before logging on to healthcare.gov to shop for health insurance. But now the clock is ticking, and important ACA deadlines are looming. You need to purchase your new health insurance policy before the Open Enrollment period ends on March 31, 2014, if you plan to purchase through the exchange, or face a penalty.
During the Open Enrollment period, you can buy qualified private health insurance through the government Marketplace. After the Open Enrollment period, you can only sign up for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIPS) through healthcare.gov. Unless, that is, you have certain personal or professional needs that require a change in your health insurance. These include getting married, moving, getting a new job that pays more, or losing your health insurance.
The exact date you apply for insurance during Open Enrollment affects the date your health insurance will begin. You’ll be covered faster if you apply between the 1st and 15th of the month when your insurance will take effect on the first day of the following month. If you apply after the 15th of the month, your insurance won’t take effect for 4 to 6 weeks.
What happens if you miss the deadline and don’t buy health insurance in 2014? Besides risking financial hardship should you have a health crisis, you’ll have to pay a penalty of 1% of your household income, or $95 per adult, whichever is greater.
ACA Deadlines for 2015 and SHOP Enrollment
The planned ACA deadlines for 2015 enrollment are much shorter than this year’s: November 15, 2014 through January 15, 2015. Buying health insurance after that date will be restricted to special circumstances unless you get coverage through your employer.
A new employer-based health insurance option is the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), geared toward businesses with 50 or fewer employees. On January 1, 2016, SHOP will be available to businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
SHOP is intended to make employer-based health care more affordable. If a small business qualifies, in most cases 75% of the employees must participate in the plan. Employees can shop for health insurance whenever they are hired and on a rolling month-by-month basis similar to the Open Enrollment period.
Staying on Top of Health Insurance Enrollment Is a Full-Time Job for EInsurance
The Affordable Care Act is changing the way Americans get health care, and EInsurance strives to stay on top of what these changes mean to you.