I’m hearing about a lot of last-minute changes to the health insurance marketplace. What do I need to know, and how do I keep up?
You're right. Lately, the rules of the game keep changing. Because of that, you should check Healthcare.gov regularly for updates and check with the health plans when shopping for coverage. Here's the latest information "Hey, Doc" gathered as of Dec. 20:
- For many people, Dec. 23 is still the last day to sign up for insurance for coverage to take effect on Jan. 1. And to guarantee that happens, you still have pay your first month's premium by Dec. 31. You still have until March 31 to sign up for coverage for 2014 and avoid the tax penalty for going without insurance.
- You might have more time to pay your premium, but it could affect your coverage. Some - but not necessarily not all - health plans said that they will give you until Jan. 10 to pay your first month's premium. If you choose to take more time to pay, that means your insurance won't take effect on Jan. 1. Instead, once you make your payment by the Jan. 10 deadline, the health plan will make your coverage effective back to Jan. 1. That means you still could be responsible for any medical bills until you pay the premium, then the health plan may pay you back. Again, because not all insurance companies are extending the deadline, it's important to check with your health plan to find out when your premium is due to make sure you are covered.
- If your insurance was cancelled because it didn't meet the new ACA standards, you might have more time to get it renewed or find a new health plan and avoid the 2014 tax penalties for going without coverage. You can find more details here and here.
"Hey, Doc" main page