HHS Now Says You Can Sign Up for Health Care After Obamacare Deadline
8:12 AM, Mar 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Since the penalty for not having insurance in 2014 is based on lacking coverage for three months or longer during the year, anyone who waits until after March 31 to buy coverage outside the Marketplace will likely incur some penalty, which according to the IRS is "1/12th of the annual payment for each month you (or your dependents) do not have coverage and are not exempt." Additionally, such individuals will not have access to subsidies as those are available only for policies purchased through the Marketplace. But the fact remains that even absent the "life events" that are necessary to qualify for Marketplace coverage outside of open enrollment, coverage may be purchased directly from private insurers during that time. Such offerings, of course, will be up to the individual carriers; CMS's response says that "insurers off the Marketplace may choose to allow" consumers to purchase plans outside of open enrollment, not that they are compelled to do so.
Obviously it would be in the government's interest for the public to assume that no coverage, either inside or outside the Marketplace, may be purchased between April 1 and November 15 unless there is a qualifying "life event." But as the recent clarification from CMS spells out, the private insurance market (as opposed to "Marketplace") will remain an option for those who for one reason or another resist Obamacare's deadline.
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