What key dates do I need to know?
There are 3 key dates you'll want to mark on your calendar:
Use the timeline of the health care law to learn more about what's changing and find out how the law protects you.
The Marketplace will tell you whether you qualify for Medicaid or theChildren’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, your coverage can begin immediately. You can also apply for either of these programs right now. Follow the the links above to learn more.
Small employers generally may start offering health insurance coverage to their employees through the SHOP Marketplace at any time during the year.
Open enrollment started October 1, 2013. You can compare and select from private health insurance plans in the new Marketplace. You'll learn if you can get lower costs on your insurance before you enroll in a plan.
You'll also learn if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage throughMedicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). (You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP right now. Visit the links above to learn more.)
After reviewing your options, you can choose a plan that fits your needs and budget and enroll.
If you enroll in a private health insurance plan any time between October 1, 2013 and December 23, 2013 and make your first premium payment, your new health coverage starts January 1, 2014.
During the rest of open enrollment, if you enroll between the 1st and 15th day of the month and pay your premium, your coverage begins the first day of the next month. So if you enroll on February 10, 2014, your coverage begins March 1, 2014.
If you enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month and pay your premium, your effective date of coverage will be the first day of thesecond following month. So if you enroll on February 16, 2014, your coverage starts on April 1, 2014.
Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage closes on March 31, 2014. Be sure to visit the Marketplace and enroll in a plan before this date.
If you enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace by March 31, 2014, you won’t have to make the payment for any month before your coverage began.
For example, if you enroll in a Marketplace plan on March 31 your coverage begins on May 1. If you didn’t have coverage earlier in the year, you won’t have to pay a penalty for any of the previous months of 2014.
After March 31, 2014, you can get new private health insurance for 2014 only through a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event like a job loss, birth, or divorce.