The official deadline for enrolling in a health plan with coverage effective Jan. 1 through the federal Healthcare.gov website has been extended through Dec. 24, The Washington Post reported today, Dec. 23.
According to The Post, Julie Batallie, Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says the official deadline is still Dec. 23, but the CMS has “…taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for Jan 1.” The CMS is the agency responsible for oversight of the Healthcare.gov website.
Originally, the deadline was Dec. 15, but last month, concerns that the problematic website would not be able to handle the anticipated volume of traffic caused the administration, to move the enrollment deadline to Dec. 23.
Consumers that miss the new deadline may still purchase health insurance in the exchange – open enrollment continues through March 312, 2014 – but the earliest effective date would be Feb. 1, 2014.
The Affordable Care Act requires most Americans have health insurance coverage by Jan.1 or be subject to a penalty. The law does allow citizens to go without insurance for up to three consecutive months in the year before a penalty is assessed.
The penalty for 2014 is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child up to a maximum of $285 per family, or 1 percent of family income, whichever is greater. Families with incomes below the threshold for income tax filing are exempted from the penalty.
While most insurers require the first premium payment be made by Dec. 31 for policies effective Jan.1, some have extended the payment deadline to Jan. 10, 2014. Residents in states that run their own Healthcare Exchange may have a different deadline.