By Jesse Wood
Dec. 20, 2013. For coverage that starts at the first of the year, Dec. 23 is the last day to sign up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
However, the fine for not having health insurance in 2014 kicks in if an eligible individual doesn’t enroll by March 31, 2014. Click here for a timeline of key dates of ObamaCare.
In the most recent change to ObamaCare, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Thursday evening that people with canceled plans are exempt from the requirement to buy coverage and are also able to “buy bare-bones catastrophic plans, regardless of their age, under a hardship exemption,” Kaiser Health News reported.
Last week, Sebelius sent out a release with a list of steps that are to “ensure Americans signing up through the marketplace have coverage and access to healthcare on Jan. 1.
Pulled from the Dec. 12 release, those steps include:
- Requiring insurers to accept payment through December 31 for coverage that will begin January 1, and urging issuers to give consumers additional time to pay their first month’s premium and still have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
- Giving people enrolled in the federal Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) the chance to extend their coverage through Jan. 31, 2014 if they have not already selected a new plan. PCIP is a transitional bridge program that provides people with health conditions who could otherwise be shut out of the insurance market or charged more because of their pre-existing condition quality, affordable health insurance until options become available in the Marketplaces. The additional month gives this vulnerable population additional time to enroll in a plan and ensure continuity of coverage.
- Formalizing the previously announced decision giving individuals until December 23, instead of December 15, to sign up for health insurance coverage in the Marketplaces that would begin January 1.
- Strongly encouraging insurers to treat out-of-network providers as in-network to ensure continuity of care for acute episodes or if the provider was listed in their plan’s provider directory as of the date of an enrollee’s enrollment.
- Strongly encouraging insurers to refill prescriptions covered under previous plans during January.
For local help regarding navigating the Health Insurance Marketplace, contact Eric Schneider, an enrollment and eligibility specialist operating out of High Country Community Health, at 828-773-7297 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or email him at [email protected]
Also contact Dick VanEecke, a certified enrollment specialist at the Watauga County Library reference desk, at 828-264-8784, ext. 2.
And for Avery County residents, contact navigator Dory Trimble at (828) 773-2471.
Click to www.healthcare.gov to learn more.