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Confusion Surrounds Individual Mandate Deadline

Multiple dates have been associated with the federal deadline to secure health insurance in 2014. Initially, consumers were told they needed to be covered on January 1. Then when the 90 day grace period was factored in, many discovered they could delay coverage until March 31. Subsequently, experts noted that to be covered by plans purchased through the Exchanges by March 31, consumers must apply and be deemed eligible by February 15. This prompted a fury of confusion and frustration, given that late enrollers could face penalties despite applying for coverage within open enrollment.

confused dog

Now the Obama administration is addressing this issue. The administration has clarified that while the individual mandate’s March 31 deadline remains, anyone who applies and signs up for coverage through the Exchanges during open enrollment will not be subject to the penalty for being uninsured for more than 90 days. This policy change will provide clarity to consumers and allow people to get covered while satisfying the individual mandate.

For further guidance, see CMS’ memo on the issue.

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