ACA Enrollment Deadline Approaches

The new enrollment deadline for obtaining health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now March 31, 2014. Enrollment goals and deadlines have been revised since the establishment of state health insurance exchanges.

The original enrollment deadline of December 31, 2013 was extended due to many factors, including serious website difficulties at healthcare.gov. The federal site required a complex rebuild. Website problems also have occurred at state insurance exchange websites, such as the one in California. Inadequate staffing of consumer helpline staffs has also contributed to the need for a deadline extension. 

The original target for 2014 enrollment was 7 million, which has now been revised downward to 6 million by the Congressional Budget Office. Independent statistician Charles Gaba estimated insurance exchange enrollment between 3.65 and 4.73 million as of the beginning of March. Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. reported in February that 27% who signed up for coverage were previously uninsured in contrast to 11% in earlier surveys. Experts expect enrollment to accelerate as the enrollment deadline draws closer.

Lack of qualifying insurance or an exemption by March 31 will result in a penalty of 1% of yearly income or $95 per adult in your family and $47.50 per child for the year, whichever is higher. Consumers will also be unable to obtain coverage through the healthcare exchanges until the next annual enrollment period unless you have a qualifying life event, such as the birth of a child.