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.


Stop It

Ummm...yeah. I won't be signing up for squat. Come get me. I dare you.


Ummm....yeah. Are you one of those who run to the emergency room without health care coverage, apply for a program due to your low income, have the hospital write off the bill and then pass the cost of your freebie down to me because I have healthcare? I hope they do come for you. Try giving up your cable or cell phone and do what the law requires.


Take that Stopit!

fewdss's picture

Start working at home with Google! Its by-far the best job Ive had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. Useful Reference

Stop It

No, I'd rather die than let any healthcare BS do anything to me. Last time I was in a hospital I was worse off for the wear and tear. I contracted MRSA in Toledo. When one enters a hospital, aren't they expecting to get better than worse?


A lot of the emergency room problems would be solved if people had a clue what qualifies as an "emergency" and what doesn't! It's like the idiot who dialed 9-1-1 because the drive thru employee forgot to put her fries in the bag. The last time I was at the ER (was there to meet someone who had a REAL emergency), I overheard a woman at the desk saying she was there because her kid had a COLD! THOSE are the people who should be told to visit a regular clinic during regular hours, or pay in advance.

As for giving up cable and/or cell phones, I might have to. But then how would I pay for the REST of the exhorbitantly high premiums, eh? What do I give up THEN? Car insurance? Groceries? Heat?

For the record: I owe no doctor and no hospital ANYthing. On the rare occasions I've had to deal with medical expenses, I've paid them. Sometimes over time instead of all at once, but nobody's EVER had to write off one thin dime where I'm concerned.

The people who couldn't afford anything were eligible for Medicaid. The people who can't afford the UNaffordable Care Act? We're screwed.


Tell OBOMA and his bunch to get it!


Hahaha! Yeah, it's not good enough for his royal highness and his jesters.


Yeah, well maybe you people could fine parents who can't afford 9 or 10 kids.

Do that , first.





Dr. Information

Go out and sign up for that coverage with that money you do not have because you are living paycheck to paycheck. Oh and if you don't they are going to fine you anyhow, known as a tax for not participating.

Either way, millions are screwed. The government has you either way.


I bet you can afford those Browns' season tickets!


That doesn't matter if he can or not. Its about the GOVERNMENT forcing you to pay for something that most americans do not want!!


I'm an American. I want it!

Dr. Information

Polls show most think the ACA is wrong and forced upon us. Put it up for national vote. I'd bet my house it would get stomped.

getit right be4...

Obama will go down as the worst president ever. I'm not signing up for nothing.


He will also go down as the President that ordered the execution of the no. 1 terrorist on the planet and actually got the mission accomplished!

getit right be4...

And just 12 years after 9/11 is sending guns to al-Qaeda.


Turn the channel! You sound stupid!

getit right be4...

From Washington Times " 12 years after 9/11 Obama sends guns to al-Qaeda"


From FDL "President Obama, in order to arm Al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebels, has waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups."

You must be so proud.


Turn the channel!

getit right be4...

Obama's approval rating is 37%. Turn that channel.

Dr. Information

amen getit right, amen


This really isn't anything special. If Obama had actually gone down there and shot Usama himself, then I'd be impressed. Giving him the credit for the death of Usama is like giving Bush Jr. credit for the death of Saddam. Neither did a damn thing but sit in their office, while our brave men and women of the Armed Forces did all the real work.


W said he did not even think about the terrorist. Tell us about your bravery!


How can people seriously support this crap. Like so many out there I work very hard for what I have. This guy is going to FORCE me to pay monthly for health ins, a premium that I will NOT be able to afford. Then when you don't pay because you cant afford it you get FINED, they will put a lean on your house. how does that make any sense??? And theres really people out there that support this. Take your blindfolds off people!!!!!!! Look at the bigger picture!

Colonel Angus

We did. And when our blindfolds were off we realized that those without insurance are the cause of the costs rising for those of us with insurance. If you want to forgo having insurance, that should be your right. However, should you need medical attention, it should be the providers right to deny you care based on the risk that you will not pay for services rendered. Just like Perkins Township residents don't like paying to educate Sandusky children, those of us with insurance do not wish to pay the tab for the uninsured. It seems like a simple solution to me, but I'm sure those who have been relying on their healthcare handout will disagree. Maybe if you eat healthier you won't get sick. Try going into a restaurant, order a nutritious meal and passing your bill onto other diners. Try taking your blinders off so that you can see those around you, not just what's in front of you.