What Are the Registration Deadlines for the Affordable Care Act?

October 9, 2013

What Are The Registration Deadlines for the Affordable Care Act?


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, is designed to help Americans obtain affordable health insurance, and when the measure first passed, required all Americans to have some type of health insurance by January 1, 2014. The insurance could be through an employer, Medicare, Medicaid or purchased through government programs known as health exchanges. However, there are several other deadlines included in the bill that people must be aware of to avoid penalties.

Individual Mandate Deadline

In late October 2013, the White House extended the deadline for what is known as the Individual Mandate portion of the ACA from January 1, 2014 until March 31, 2014. The extension is related to technical issues with many of the exchange program websites that have limited the number of people who were able to enroll in such plans. Failure to obtain insurance by March 31, 2014 will result in a tax penalty of $95 for each adult, or one percent of their income, whichever is higher.

Insurance Exchange Open Enrollment Ends

Although the White House extended the date for individual mandate penalties, they did not extend the length of time open enrollment for health exchanges would end. Currently, individuals must purchase insurance from the exchange market by March 31, 2014. Failure to purchase insurance by that date will require the individual to wait until October 15, 2014 to purchase from the exchange program unless there is a qualifying life event, such as death of a spouse, divorce, job loss or the birth of a child. Open enrollment will begin every year after 2014 on October 15.

Open Enrollment Ends for 2014

Beginning in 2014, and every year after that, the insurance exchange open enrollment period ends December 7. This will be the closing date for open enrollment for all future years, barring changes by Congress or the White House. Failure to obtain coverage by December 7 could result in an individual waiting until October 15, 2015 to obtain insurance.

Increase in Tax Penalties for Individuals

Failure to provide proof of health insurance before January 1 of each year will result in most American’s paying tax penalties that increase each year. These deadlines are for those who cannot provide proof of insurance are:

•January 1, 2015 –$325 for each adult or 2 percent of income, whichever is higher
•January 1, 2016 – $695 for each adult or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher

Deadlines for Businesses

Employers also face deadlines under the ACA. By January 1, 2015, employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer affordable, comprehensive insurance. For those that do not, fines of $2,000 per employee may be assessed. By January 1, 2018, insurers or self-funded plans will pay a 40 percent tax on plans with annual costs of more than $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for families.

All deadlines are subject to change based on legislation passed by Congress, or adjustments made by the White House.

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