The short answer is NO.
The Internal Revenue will grant an exemption for the penalty tax as long as you enroll in coverage during your employer’s 2014 open enrollment period.
Since health insurance became mandatory on January 1, 2014, the penalty exemption is available for people whose employer-sponsored plan has an open enrollment window that does not align with a calendar year.
The issue really came about because, for this first year under the Affordable Care Act, if an employee chose not to enroll in coverage under an employer-sponsored plan in 2013 (because health insurance was not mandatory at that time), that same employee would not have been eligible for a premium subsidy on the exchange since technically, coverage was offered by the employer.
However, short of purchasing individual 2014 coverage during regular open enrollment (which would have been expensive without a subsidy), a person in this situation has no option for purchasing 2014 coverage other than during the group plan’s 2014 open enrollment period.
Therefore, the exemption period goes from January 1, 2014 until the employer plan’s 2014 open enrollment. Assessing a penalty for not being covered during this time would essentially amount to being penalized for failing to enroll in coverage in 2013 — when coverage was not required!
(Click here to read IRS Notice 2013-42 Transition Relief for Employees and Related Individuals Eligible to Enroll in Eligible Employer-Sponsored Health Plans for Non-Calendar Plan Years that Begin in 2013 and End in 2014.)