Hi blog readers! This is Heather Heppner with the AARP Illinois Communications Team back with your Tuesday health care law post. This week we'll be going over some key dates for enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces.
Mark Your Calendars!
- October 1, 2013: Marketplace open enrollment starts
- January 1, 2014: Health insurance coverage can start
- March 31, 2014: Marketplace open enrollment ends
If you enroll in a private health insurance plan any time between October 1, 2013 and December 15, 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 the second 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 Get Covered Illinois to enroll in a plan before this date.**
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.
REMEMBER: Get Covered Illinois, Illinois' Health Insurance Marketplace, is only for people who need to buy private health insurance. If you have insurance through Medicare, the Marketplace does NOT apply to you. Open enrollment for Medicare is October 15 - December 7, 2013.
**Starting in 2014, most people will have to have health insurance or pay a penalty deducted from their taxable income. For individuals, the penalty starts at $95 per year, or up to 1% of income, whichever is greater. This increases to $695 or 2.5% of income by 2016. For families, the penalty will be $2,085 or 2.5% of household income, whichever is greater. The requirement can be waived for several reasons, including financial hardship or religious beliefs. People who don't have to pay taxes won't be subject to the penalty.
Until next week....be healthy!