Marketplace Update and Key
Dates to Know
Marketplace, it’s important to understand key enrollment dates for health insurance plans offered there:
•        The soonest any health insurance plan from the Marketplace will start to cover you and your family is January 1, 2014. If you want
your health insurance coverage to begin on January 1, 2014, you have from now until December 15, 2013 to take as much time as you
need to select a health insurance plan.
•        Open enrollment continues through March 31, 2014.
•        If something changes in your life, like you get married or have a child, you’ll still be able add those people to your health insurance
plan during special enrollment periods throughout the year.
•        In the following years, there will be a 54-day open enrollment period that starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th of each
year.

So what happens to those who do not get health insurance in 2014? Well, the Individual Mandate, which is part of health care reform,
says that legal U.S. citizens will be required by law to have health insurance beginning on January 1, 2014. The point of the Individual
Mandate is to try to get as many people to get health insurance so they’re covered when they need medical care. If you already have
insurance and plan to keep it, you shouldn’t have to worry about the Individual Mandate.

But starting in 2014, if you choose to continue to go without insurance you’ll be subject to a tax penalty of $95, or 1% of your income,
whichever is greater (up to a maximum penalty amount). The tax penalty increases significantly over time. If you’re covered by any of the
following in 2014, you’re covered under the law and do not have to pay a penalty:
•        Medicare
•        Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
•        A plan offered by an employer
•        TRICARE (for service members, retirees, and their families)
•        The veteran’s health program
•        Insurance bought on your own that is at least the bronze level
•        A grandfathered health plan in existence before the heath reform law was enacted

There are also some exceptions to the Individual Mandate rule. Here are examples of cases where there’s no penalty for being without
insurance:
•        Your family income is below the threshold for filing a tax return. For example, a person falls below the threshold for filing a tax
return if their income is around $10,000.
•        You are part of a religion opposed to acceptance of benefits from a health insurance policy.
•        You are an undocumented immigrant.
•        You are incarcerated.
•        You are a member of an Indian tribe.
•        You have to pay more than 8% of your income for health insurance, after taking in to account any employer contributions or tax
credits.
Stay tuned to future issues of Capital City Hues for more detailed information about health care reform and how it might impact you.  

Information for this article was provided by the GHC Better Together Project, a service of Group Health Cooperative. Visit www.
GHCBetterTogether.com for additional information.
Editor’s Note: As major provisions of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare begin to take
effect, The Capital City Hues is partnering with Group Health Cooperative to provide our
readership with information about the law’s implementation and how it will impact our
readers. This is the sixth column in a series.

Just about three weeks have passed since the launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace
and by all accounts locally and nationally, the introduction of the federal site has been
bumpy. Administration officials insist that “people are working 24/7” to fix issues
surrounding the website for the Marketplace. More shoppers may begin to enroll for health
insurance plans once the system is up to full speed. (Access to the Marketplace is also
available by phone at 1-800-318-2596 or for an in-person assistant, visit https://localhelp.
healthcare.gov.)

People who plan to keep their insurance through the workplace haven’t really had to pay
close attention to these issues. After all, an estimated 85% of Americans receive their
health insurance through the workplace and will most likely not see major changes in
2014. Yet for many of the remaining 15% that are looking for health insurance through the