In just a few days Obamacare enrollment is supposed to open. This will enable people to sign up in the Obamacare healthcare program and purchase a health insurance program that will enable them to meet the requirements for January 1, 2014, when health insurance will be mandatory.
The Exchanges Will Open on October 1st
In order for those without health insurance to get the coverage they need, health exchanges will open on October 1st, 2013. A health exchange is basically an online marketplace for people to look at what plans are available in their state. Plans will be available from several companies, and each one will offer several levels of coverage, based on price, says IBTimes.com.
In order to avoid paying the penalty, you must have coverage by January 1, 2014. Even if you buy your coverage on October 1st, it is important to realize that no actual coverage will be in place until January 1, 2014. The exchanges will remain open through March 31, 2014. There are some requirements, however, as to who can take advantage of the new health coverage under Obamacare. You have to be a US citizen or national, live in the US, and not be a prisoner at the time of enrollment.
Employers Must Notify Their Employees
Small businesses will also have a health insurance exchange specifically opened just for them. These businesses will have to have less than 50 employees and it will enable them to put all their employees into one health insurance plan, says NFIB.com.
The government has granted small businesses the opportunity to wait a year until they provide coverage, but BusinessWeek.com says that businesses of all sizes must inform their employees with a written notice of the marketplaces available to them under Obamacare. They must also notify their employees of a subsidized coverage if the plan offered by the company does not provide at least 60 percent of the costs, says AccountingWeb.com.
Help Centers May Be Open in Every State
In order to comply with Obamacare, every state is required to open a healthcare exchange by October 1. They also will have to offer a helpline because many people are going to have a lot of questions and not have a clue about how to get the required coverage. According to USAToday.com, a few states, such as California and Maryland, already have their exchange in operation.
It is possible that some states may not have their exchange centers open on October 1 because this is not required by the Obamacare documents, says Sarah Kliff at the WashingtonPost.com. Some states may still be testing the system to ensure that it works smoothly. It is also possible that problems in Congress and the budget might delay it, too.
Although you are not required to have the new Obamacare coverage until January 1, 2014, it is not a good idea to wait until the last minute. There will be a fine for those who do not have coverage – if they are able to afford it. If you already have it, but want to change your plan, be sure not to drop what you have until January 1, or you may find yourself without any coverage at all.