There has been a lot of talk about enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as “Obamacare”).
It may not be clear, however, how the effective dates work for 2014 coverage.
Open enrollment for health insurance plans effective in 2014 runs from October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. This means that during this time period, any eligible consumer can purchase a health insurance policy that is effective in 2014.
The earliest coverage can begin under the Affordable Care Act is January 1, 2014, with anyone submitting an application by
December 15, 2013 December 23, 2013* having coverage by the first of the year. But after that, the timing is a little tricky.
After January 1, the soonest a new ACA-compliant policy will be effective is a little more than two weeks out from the date you submit your application for coverage. This happens when you apply right before the 15th of a month.
However, if you apply on the 16th of a month, it will be a full month and a half before your coverage is effective.
Here is how the dates work:
|If you apply between …||Your coverage will be effective …|
|October 1, 2013 – December
||January 1, 2014|
|December 16, 2013 – January 15, 2014||February 1, 2014|
|January 16, 2014 – February 15, 2014||March 1, 2014|
|February 16, 2014 – March 15, 2014||April 1, 2014|
|March 16, 2014 – March 31, 2014||May 1, 2014|
*Update November 25, 2013: enrollment deadline has been extended by 8 days.
Enrollment via the online health insurance exchanges — whether federal or state — has surely been problematic since October 1. Latest figures indicate that actual enrollment numbers to date are quite low. But this has not changed the dates of open enrollment for 2014 plans. You must apply by December 15 in order for coverage to begin on January 1.
We should note that this year’s six month open enrollment period is unusual and will only be true this time around (for 2014 plans). In future years**, open enrollment for health insurance will run from October 15 through December 7, with coverage beginning on the first of the following year.
**Update November 25, 2013: Open Enrollment for 2015 plans will run from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015.
There is still plenty of time to be covered by the first of the year! Give us a call or send us an email. We are here to help!
Thank you for your patience as we manage a high volume of calls and emails!