Get covered by Valentine's Day to avoid fines

To successfully meet March 31 deadline, Americans must send in health insurance application by mid-February
Associated Press
Oct 10, 2013

You'll have to get coverage by Valentine's Day or thereabouts to avoid penalties for being uninsured, the Obama administration confirmed Wednesday.

That's about six weeks earlier than a March 31 deadline often cited previously.

The explanation: health insurance coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications.

You still have to be covered by March 31 to avoid the new penalties for remaining uninsured. But to successfully accomplish that you have to send in your application by the middle of February. Coverage would then start on Mar. 1.

The Jackson Hewitt tax preparation company first pointed out the wrinkle with the health care law's least popular requirement.

An administration official confirmed it. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity.

It's the latest bit of confusion involving complex requirements of President Barack Obama's health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act.

Adjustments to the law have ranged from the momentous to the mundane. The biggest one was a one-year delay of a requirement that larger employers offer coverage, announced this summer. More recently, the administration has postponed some Spanish-language capabilities of its enrollment website, as well as full functionality on the site small businesses use to sign up.

Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt, said government agencies initially had different interpretations of the enrollment deadline. The Health and Human Services department, which is taking the lead in implementing the law, kept referring to a March 31 deadline. But the Internal Revenue Service, which handles most of the financial aspects, suggested that the deadline had to be in February.

"There were inconsistencies," said Haile, adding it took several inquiries by Jackson Hewitt over the last few weeks to clear up the uncertainty.

The health care law was designed to cover the uninsured through a mix of government-subsidized private insurance and a major expansion of the Medicaid safety net program.

The rollout of online insurance markets this month has been snarled by technical glitches that frustrated many consumers. Meanwhile, House Republicans are still pressing their demand for a delay of "Obamacare" provisions, if not its total repeal, as a condition for lifting the partial government shutdown now in its second week.

Starting next year, the law requires virtually all Americans to have insurance or face a tax penalty, triggered after a coverage gap of three months. The penalty starts as low as $95 for 2014, but escalates in subsequent years. There are exemptions for financial hardship and other defined circumstances.

The purpose of the penalty is to nudge as many people as possible into the insurance pool. That would help keep premiums in check, since the law also forbids insurers from turning away people with health problems.

Haile said an earlier enrollment deadline around Valentine's Day may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the administration, because it creates a natural opportunity to market to young, healthy people, whose premiums are needed to offset medical costs of older generations.

"When thinking about how to attract young people, a Valentine's Day message may be very salient," he said.

The administration says the deadline is actually Feb. 15, the day after Valentine's Day.

That's close enough that the government might be able to make the pitch work.

Comments

Señor Clown

In lieu of proof of enrollment, I'll be submitting a stool sample.

grumpy

A turd for a turd being run for a turd of a tax, since it was deemed a tax by SCOTUS. You have come up with a fitting donation.

kURTje

27% of hospital bill accounts for those who do not pay. Dr. Carmeddesse.

meowmix

So, I take it that there are quite of few of you out there breaking the law eh?
Are you not buying insurance for your car? Licenses for your dogs? Not filing your income tax return? Refusing to pay sales tax, property tax, not renewing your driver's license/plates?
The government, whether you like it or not, requires that we must pay for certain things..the ACA is another one.
Don't like it, as Colonel Angus put it, next time you find yourself in need of a doctor/hospital, just crack open your handy-dandy book of home remedies and cure yourself of what ails you. Just don't do it on MY DIME!

Dr. Information

insurance for your car....state issue. dog....city issue. how can you refuse to pay sales tax....fail. property tax...city/county issue. license plates....state issue.

fail on your part to make a valid comparison.

meowmix

Uh, fail on your part. Tell me, just who runs the DMV, the dog warden's office, sends you notice regarding property tax, sets the percentage of sales tax you pay-- McDonalds??? Nope, it's the GOVERNMENT!!! Whether it be federal, state, county, city, village, or township----duh!~

Dr. Information

insurance for your car....state issue. dog....city issue. how can you refuse to pay sales tax....fail. property tax...city/county issue. license plates....state issue.

fail on your part to make a valid comparison.

grumpy

As usual some don't realize that the states can do things the federal gov't can't. Reference the 10th amendment of the constitution. SCOTUS made a ruling that obamacare is a tax, to get around that. Car insurance and dog licenses have not had that finding done, besides those are state or local requirements... not federal. When speaking of laws it is best to know what the law is.

deertracker

SCOTUS also ruled it as CONSTITUTIONAL!

grumpy

Since I stated that SCOTUS deemed it a tax how could they not have ruled it Constitutional? Had they not ruled it Constitutional they would not have deemed it a tax. Do you have trouble reading, and/or understanding what you read?

deertracker

Is it the law or not? Case closed!

grumpy

It is a tax, so decided by SCOTUS. As I stated in my first post. Did you not read it or did you not understand it? you seem to be having problems reading and/ or understanding what you read.

grumpy

It is a tax, so decided by SCOTUS. As I stated in my first post. Did you not read it or did you not understand it? you seem to be having problems reading and/ or understanding what you read.

kURTje

Facts. Why do most folks hate them? Deer it disturbs me how most Americans are so vain , weak, & hard-headed. That's why we have the problems we do.

deertracker

Agreed!

Dr. Information

pot meet kettle.

hilltop

Everybody gets an extension except the people . . . . O'Bummer care at its best.

grumpy

The corporations and businesses are given "special" treatment under this administration, as is evidenced by the extensions and/or subsidies they have been given by obama. The people are allowed to try to get on a flawed website and wait for the defects to be sorted out while the corporations get their extensions and subsidies, paid for by the people. Aren't facts great?

Bottom Line

Breaking news: Obama just passed a law that every person MUST spend $100 on flowers or candy for a significant other during the week of Valentine's Day. If not, they will be fined $200.

Deertracker fully supports this decision.

meowmix

Was this a "breaking news alert" you just heard on Faux News? They also reported that the President is actually from the planet Snazedu and he will soon implement his evil plan to close tax loopholes for the 1% (now, insert evil laugh here).

deertracker

What kind of flowers and candy do you like Bottom?

AJ Oliver

I've been really shocked to learn over the past year or so that it's important to many conservatives that tens of millions of Americans live badly - no health care, poverty level wages, no SS. Even though single payer is demonstrably cheaper and more efficient, conservatives just hate the prospect of health care for all. They are the kings and queens of mean.

TellTheTruth

AJO, you don't know what you are talking about. Over many years my fellow physicians and I gave care without remuneration to disadvantaged folks (and frequently didn't even get a 'thank you'). No one was turned away because of inability to pay. Health departments also participated in free care. How dare you accuse "conservatives" of hating health care for all? What have you given or sacrificed for your fellow man (or woman)?

kURTje

Great 1 grump! You hit the sweet part of the bat & its oudda here! See most know that the few get the best. The elite/business are no better than you or me. What happens in the future regarding health in America will be interesting. This we know...it could not continue in its present fashion. Remember the seniors going to Canada for better prices on prescription drugs? Got to go..more rabbits to butcher.

grumpy

Yes obama and the dims seems to cater to the elite as has been shown time and again. Don't forget the rich Canadians coming down for operations and treatment that they would have to wait months and months for. The elite always get what they want, course they pay for it...

I have already cleaned my limit for the day. They will soon be going in the freezer. We almost never eat domestic meat, cept for some my bil raises.

AJ Oliver

Big News that I don't think the Register covered . .

275,000 Ohioans to get health care. Geez, that just terrible news for the righties, isn't it ? They must hate that almost as much as when a low income kid gets a meal.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is considering accepting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in his state via executive order, his office confirmed to TPM, after the state legislature stymied his efforts earlier this year.

The possibility was first reported by the Columbus Dispatch. “We continue to explore all our options and just want to get this done," Kasich spokesman Robert Nichols told TPM in an email Wednesday.

Here's how it would work, according to the Dispatch: Kasich would expand Medicaid eligiblity to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as Obamacare prescribes, via an executive order. He would then, on Oct. 21, ask a seven-member legislative-spending oversight panel for the authority to spend the money that the federal government would provide the state to pay for the expansion.

“The governor, I think, has the authority to do that,” Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R) told the Dispatch Wednesday. “It’s certainly within his prerogative. I’m a defender of legislative rights, and I would think the better solution would be a legislative option, but the governor does have that authority."

Medicaid expansion would cover roughly 275,000 additional Ohioans.

Dr. Information

The lazy win again.

SamAdams

Obamacare is great for those who don't work. They'll get even more for free! But for the working man, it's a nightmare. People are having their hours reduced because employers can't afford the premium increases or the fines. They're having their premiums raised, and/or their current insurance plans discontinued.

Prior to Obamacare, people did NOT go without healthcare. I defy you to find ONE example of a man suffering a heart attack who was refused by the ambulance driver or the ER doctors. Find ONE example of a woman hit by a car who had to limp to the hospital on her own only to be sent home. All that Obamacare does is raise rates and decrease options (not to mention eliminate choice).

I sympathize with everybody who's tired of subsidizing the healthcare of others (I mean deadbeats, not the legitimately disabled). I'm right there with you! But what, pray tell, do you think Obamacare does? Only Obamacare does it on STEROIDS!

Darwin's choice

Exactly correct! This video is from a little while ago, but watch and tell me this isn't exactly whats going on, and what needs to be done with Congress....

http://daily.represent.us/news-a...

Do you people know that Obamacare/ACA, whatever you want to call it, has zero provisions for getting any more doctors, but has 18,000 more IRS agents? Read the ACA and learn!

grumpy

http://daily.represent.us/news-a...

Hmmm, another who doesn't like the dumb and dumber parties.

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