So you missed the Obamacare deadline? Here’s what to do
Posted on August 2, 2013 by admin
If you woke up today having missed yesterday’s 2014 enrollment deadline for Obamacare coverage, you just might be in for a rude awakening.
However, some loopholes do exist and there may be ways to still get coverage this year. For many uninsured Americans, though, who waited until it was too late or decided not to buy coverage, there may be heavy costs to incur both this year and the next.
Once the deadline has passed, technically you are unable to purchase health insurance, said president of private insurance exchange Flexible Benefit, John DiVito. DiVito said he thought there would probably be a lot of people who did not purchase health insurance, either because they thought that coverage would be too expensive, or because they thought they would be able to purchase it later on down the road.
Luckily, there are three loopholes that might allow some of the uninsured to still get coverage:
1. Glitches with technology
Consumers who had difficulties enrolling in one of the Affordable Care Act’s health care plans will get an extension through the middle of April. It is not yet clear if or how consumers will have to prove that they had technological difficulties, or if it will just be on the honor system, said DiVito. On Monday, which was the last day of open enrollment, Healthcare.gov had two short outages while a large number of people tried to sign up.
2. A “qualifying life event.”
People who experienced a large change in their lives like divorce or job loss can still enroll in a health care plan, but they will have to show proof, said DiVito. According to information on Healthcare.gov, voluntarily losing coverage because you did not pay your premium does not count as a qualifying life event.
3. Purchase short-term insurance
This stop-gap measure does exist, but do not let it fool you: these plans, which do not last more than a year, have some downsides. For example, these health insurance plans might not cover preexisting conditions. They also do not qualify as an Obamacare “minimum essential coverage,” so you will still be responsibility for penalties.
Many people are still confused about the penalties involved. Some Americans who are uninsured will have to pay a nominal $95 fee, but there is more to it than that. The 2014 penalty is either $95 for an adult for the year, or one percent of your gross income above the tax filing threshold of around $10,000; it just depends which of these is higher.
So what does that mean? It means that an individual adult with an income of $50,000 would have to pay a penalty of around $400 on their 2014 taxes. In 2015, however, that fee will rise to two percent.
There is good news though, for people, who are still uninsured. There will be another enrollment period in November for insurance coverage beginning in January 2015.