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!
My health insurance plan was terminated by Aetna effective December 31, 2013. Aetna provided the option to re-enroll in a replacement plan beginning December 1, 2013. The deadline to sign up for the replacement plan was today, November 27th. Due to problems with the federal insurance exchange, I was not able to complete researching the ACA plans before the deadline, so took Aetna’s offer (even though I have already satisfied my deductible and this means it will reset December 1st vice January 1st.) If I keep this plan for the full year (i.e. don’t switch to an ACA plan within the current enrollment period), it will end November 30, 2014. I will have to sign up for an ACA plan NLT November 15, 2014 in order to have coverage by December 1, 2014. As the open enrollment start date for 2014 has just been moved from October 15th to November 15th, it appears anyone who did the same will have only a single day (November 15th) to enroll in a new plan or be without coverage for at least a month.
Jonathan Katz, LUTCF
Susan, thanks very much for your comment and questions! Just a few notes:
1. By agreeing to the early renewal option with Aetna you still have the ability to terminate the plan at any time in advance of the cancellation date in December of 2014. There is still time to secure a new plan for January 1st of 2014 on (if one qualifies for a subsidy) or off of the exchange (if one is does not qualify for a subsidy there are a few more options off of the exchange). Taking the early renewal option just provided you the right for an extension, not any obligation to keep the coverage to the end.
2. If one keep’s their in force plan in place they can apply for a new ACA compliant plan upto 60 days before the involuntary loss of the Aetna plan. In other words you will want to start reviewing your options and make application in October of 2014 for a December 1st effective date. You will be provided a termination notice from Aetna that will be the evidence necessary to apply outside of the regular open enrollment period.
Please do feel free to be in touch if we can assist with additional questions!