Recent reports state that 42 percent of Americans still do not know the Affordable Care Act is law.* Considering this statistic, many of us still have a lot to learn about how the new law’s provisions will affect them. 
The law itself is over two thousand pages. Combined with thousands of pages of regulations and hundreds of pages of legal and tax guidance, it is no surprise that most people haven’t become familiar with the details. With so much information, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some key provisions every American should be aware of now:
  • Nearly every American is required to be covered by a health plan starting on January 1, 2014.
  • Unless you meet an exemption, you’ll face a penalty for remaining uninsured.
The penalty amount for remaining uninsured phases in over the next few years.
This chart llustrates the potential penalties for a family of four, with income required to file a return at $20,000:

Many Americans will be able to receive financial assistance through a subsidy to help cover their health care costs. Depending on your income and family size, you may qualify for some form of government assistance, including:
  1.  Lower monthly premiums.
  2.  Lower out-of-pocket costs for things like co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles.
  3.  Free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
This chart shows who may qualify for credits to help pay for their monthly premiums:

Other noteworthy highlights:
  • The Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes referred to as the Health Insurance Exchange) will be set up for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance. Open enrollment on the Marketplace begins October 1, 2013, for coverage starting January 1, 2014.
  • Find out if you qualify for coverage at a lower cost by going to and submitting an application starting October 1st. There are guides on the site now that can help you get ready for open enrollment.
  • Remember, if you’re covered under an employer-sponsored health plan then you meet the insurance requirement and will not be subject to penalties. 
  • If you don’t currently have health insurance and don’t know if you’ll qualify for assistance, start doing your homework now. October 1st is right around the corner. If you miss out on the initial open enrollment period, you will have to wait to get coverage on the Marketplace in next year’s open enrollment period.

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Comment ()

Linda - That's a good question. The Health and Human Services Department is in charge of the the Health Insurance Exchange and the management of it. Their final rule about open enrollment periods is below:

In 2013, the year of the first open enrollment period, consumers can begin enrolling in new health plans on October 1, 2013. This enrollment period will extend through March 31, 2014. Coverage for plans enrolled in before December 31, 2013 should begin on January 1, 2014. For those enrolling during the open period of 2014, expectations are that coverage will begin the month following enrollment.

After this initial open enrollment period expires, all subsequent open enrollment periods will begin on October 15th and end December 7th. Coverage for enrollments performed during this time will begin on January 1st of the following calendar year.

August 14, 2013 9:29:41 AM

How long will the open enrollment last? Appreciate these articles

August 14, 2013 4:09:07 AM


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About Andrew Erwin

Mr. Erwin started at ATBS in March 2001. He began his career at ATBS as a Business Consultant and was soon promoted to Group Lead working with the Fastruck Program. Mr. Erwin was the Manager of the Business Consulting group until September 2012. He is now the manager of the Tax Department. Prior to ATBS, Mr. Erwin worked in the Financial Services industry. Mr. Erwin has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Finance from Colorado State University.

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