Hey, Doc, What Deadline Dates Do I Need to Know?

It’s true. A lot of the deadlines the government originally set have changed. Here’s what you need to know for now:

Jan. 1 — This is when the Affordable Care Act “individual mandate” kicked in, and this is when the clock started ticking for the penalty you could face if you go without coverage starting this year. (See “Who must enroll? What if I don’t?”) If you already have insurance, you’re in good shape. If not, you still have time to get coverage in or out of the marketplace and avoid the penalty. 

And if you signed up for marketplace insurance before or since Jan. 1 but haven’t paid, check with your health plan to find out when your premium is due to make sure you are covered. 

March 31 — This is the last day to sign up for insurance through the marketplace to get coverage for 2014. For most people, it’s also the last day to get coverage in time to avoid the penalty for going without insurance in 2014, whether you buy it in or out of the marketplace. 

Here are some other deadlines that apply during marketplace open enrollment: 

If you sign up and pay for insurance:                    Your coverage begins:
Feb. 1-15   March 1
Feb. 16-28   April 1
March 1-15   April 1
March 16-31   May 1

You must pay your first month’s premium before your insurance takes effect. Once again, check with your health plan to find out when your premium is due to make sure you are covered. Some — not all — insurance companies extended the January payment deadline for coverage to take effect as of Jan. 1. If you signed up for insurance for January but did not pay the premium, call your health plan and make sure you get it paid on time so you are covered. 

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