The Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace enables people without medical coverage to shop for and purchase affordable, comprehensive health insurance.
The dates to know:
Oct. 1, 2013: Health insurance marketplace open enrollment begins
Jan. 1, 2014: Health coverage can start
March 31, 2014: The marketplace open enrollment period ends
If you enroll in a private health insurance plan any time between Oct. 1, 2013, and Dec. 23, 2013, and make your first premium payment, your new health coverage will start Jan. 1, 2014.
During the rest of open enrollment, if you enroll between the 1st and 15th day of the month and pay your premium, your coverage will begin the first day of the next month. So if you enroll on Feb. 10, 2014, your coverage will begin March 1, 2014.
If you enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month and pay your premium, your effective date of coverage will be the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on Feb. 16, 2014, your coverage will start on April 1, 2014.
- Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage closes on March 31, 2014. Be sure to visit the marketplace and enroll in a plan before this date.
- After March 31, 2014, you can purchase new private health insurance for 2014 through a special enrollment period only if you have a qualifying life event such as a job loss, birth or divorce.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is just for people who need to buy private health insurance.
If you have insurance through Medicare, that coverage is independent of the marketplace. Medicare Open Enrollment occurs every year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
Updated December 2013
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