While, for many, March has become synonymous with green beer and college basketball tournament brackets, there's a pressing issue at hand that everyone needs to make themselves aware of.
March Deadlines for 2014 Medical Insurance
Anyone who has been shopping for health insurance over the past six months, has likely become savvy to the mid-month deadlines issued to guarantee coverage by the first of the following month. This month however marks the last time you'll be able to purchase a plan or make changes to your existing policy.
March 15th Cutoff for April 1st Coverage
Here's why this date is so important. In order to guarantee that you and/or your family has active medical coverage on the first day of April, you need to have your new plan, subsidy application or any changes to your existing plan, in-place and taken care of by the 15th. If you wait until the 16th, 17th, 18th etc., your new policy won't become active until May 1st.
Interestingly enough March 15th also happens to fall on a Saturday, a day when many health insurance agencies are closed for the weekend. So in a non-official sense, the realistic, actual deadline is the 14th, a Friday. And if you think that you'll be the only one calling on that day, in order to beat said deadline, you may find yourself waiting until May 1st for your new policy to take effect.
March 31st Open Enrollment Deadline
Thanks to a grossly-obnoxious amount of blanket media coverage, most people are familiar with the 2014 health insurance open enrollment cutoff. This is a big one for several reasons. Right off the bat, if you don’t have health insurance by this date, you're subject to government-issued fines for violation of the Affordable Care Act. These will automatically assessed at 1% of your annual income for the first year, increasing incrementally up to 3% over the next three years. Where it goes from there is anyone's guess.
Even more significant, it means that you will not be able to purchase medical insurance until the next Open Enrollment period in November 2014. It's not like the old system where you could just log on at any time, get a quote, and then decide which policy was best for your needs and budget. If you miss this deadline, you're uninsured until December, period.
As an independent agent, we're definitely not crazy about these new rules… but they are what they are, and we're simply trying to keep everyone informed, while helping people avoid fines and risk having an unforeseen illness or accident render them financially ruined.
Free Health Insurance Sign-Up Assistance for Illinois Residents
If you're in the Chicago area or Illinois and still need to get your healthcare coverage squared away in time to beat the deadlines, Premier can help. We're exceedingly compassionate to the situation that you and your family (and our families, too) have been put in, and our staff of licensed agents can help you with everything from subsidy applications and Obamacare enrollment, to renewing existing plans or choosing a new policy.
Visit our website at pfiChicago.com for more details or contact information on how to get in touch with us. Be well, everyone.