The Pulse
3:35 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Countdown To Obamacare Deadlines: Are You Covered?

If you have health insurance through your employer, great. And in Rhode Island, that's the vast majority. But if you don't, or if your insurance is being canceled, now's the time to make a decision about what you're going to do. Here are some reminders and a few helpful tips about deadlines and what's available.

Individuals and families

  • The deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage via HealthSource RI that takes effect January 1st has just been pushed back again until December 31st.
  • However... the deadline to keep in mind is March 31st. That's the date by which you must enroll in some kind of health insurance plan unless you're willing to a) pay a penalty and b) go without insurance, which means you pay for your own medical treatment, until the next open enrollment period. (How much are the penalties? Right now, 1% of your income or $95 per person, whichever is higher in 2014; by 2016 that goes up to 2.5%/$695.)
  • Depending on your income and circumstances, you may qualify for Medicaid, help paying a monthly premium, or help reducing the cost of co-pays and cost sharing.
  • Whichever way you receive coverage, be sure to save any notice your insurer sends you confirming you're covered; you'll need it for your taxes.

Small businesses

  • Open enrollment is ongoing for small businesses, depending on when your typical enrollment period is.
  • If you want coverage for your employees that begins January 1st, you'll have to pick a plan on HealthSource RI by December 27 - a date that's just been pushed back.

Which Obamacare features have already kicked in, which haven't

  • Several Obamacare features have already gone into effect, such as coverage for children up to age 26 on their parents' plan, free Medicare preventive services for seniors, and more coverage of preventive and reproductive services for women.
  • Some haven't yet, like coverage for pre-existing conditions (which kicks in on January 1st, 2014), and yearly limits on coverage. This means that if your plan had a pre-existing condition clause and you received treatment in 2013, your insurer could question that claim based on your pre-existing condition, if you had one.

Got questions? Leave a comment!