Missing the December Obamacare (Affordable Care Act or ACA) Deadline: What Happens?

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What Happens If I Miss the December Deadline for Obamacare Coverage?

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You have until the end of the day on December 24 to sign up for an individual Obamacare plan that starts January 1, 2014. If you miss the December 24 deadline or don’t pay your first month’s premium on time, you can still get coverage for 2014 -- but it will begin later than January 1.

Signing Up By December 24 Isn't Enough: You Must Pay Your Bill on Time

Even if you do sign up for a plan by December 24, remember that you must pay your first month’s premium on time for coverage to begin. The payment deadline depends on the state and the insurance company, but most insurers have agreed to extend the former January 1 payment deadline to January 10.

If you have signed up for coverage beginning January 1 and have not yet received a billing statement or paid your bill, call your insurance company to confirm your enrollment and find out the best way to get your payment in on time.

If You Enroll Late: When Coverage Begins

If you sign up after December 24, when your coverage begins depends on what day of the month you enroll.

If you enroll between the 1st and 15th day of the month and pay your premium on time, your coverage will begin on the first day of the next month.

Example: Jack signs up for a plan on January 8 and pays the first month’s premium on January 25. His coverage begins February 1.

If you enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month and pay your premium on time, your coverage will start on the first day of the second following month.

Example: Carrie signs up for a plan on February 17 and pays her first month’s premium on February 27. Her coverage begins April 1.

Open Enrollment Ends on March 31, 2013

To get coverage under Obamacare for 2014, you must enroll in a plan by March 31. (This deadline has been extended for some people who have made a good faith effort to sign up by that date. For more information, see our Obamacare Blog.) If you don’t, you may have to pay a penalty when you file your taxes in 2015.

If you miss the March 31 open enrollment date, you will have to wait for the next open enrollment period to sign up for a health plan. (The only exception is for a “qualifying life event.”) That enrollment period begins on November 15, 2014 and runs through January 15, 2014.

For More Information

To learn whether you must sign up for a plan under Obamacare, see Do I Have to Get Obamacare in New York?

If you’re ready to enroll in a plan, see How Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in New York?

To find out how much you may owe if you don’t have insurance, see How Much Is the Obamacare Tax Penalty?


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