The Obama administration may give Americans extra time to sign up for health insurance under
the Affordable Care Act, postponing when penalties for failing to buy coverage will go into effect, MarketWatch has learned. The health care law requires most people to have health insurance by Jan.
1, 2014, but allows for “short coverage gaps” of up to three months before imposing the penalty, which is
$95 or 1% of an individual’s income (whichever is greater) next year.
That means someone must be covered by March 31, an official with the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed, which is the final day that people will be able to purchase health insurance on the public exchanges, or marketplaces, created by the ACA. (People must apply by Dec. 15 if they want coverage starting Jan. 1.)
The Administration, however, has recognized that there’s a “disconnect” between the actual and effective deadlines, as the deadline to get health
insurance in time to comply with the ACA is currently six weeks earlier than the final deadline to buy it. The administration declined to say whether people who purchase health coverage late in the enrollment period—say, on March 31—would be exempt from a penalty, even if their policy doesn’t kick in until April or May. Nor would the department give a specific date by which people would need to buy coverage to escape a fine.
It’s worth noting that the open enrollment period has already been extended to a full six months this year for the implementation of the ACA: In future years, people will have a few months in the fall to enroll in health insurance starting the following January.
Jofi Joseph, the National Security Council official fired last week for Tweeting secretly under the moniker @natsecwonk, had publicly, albeit anonymously, accused a senior White House official of leaking classified information related to United States intelligence operations against Iran. Continue Reading...