American might have less time than they originally thought to sign up for health insurance than previously thought to comply with the individual mandate provision of the president’s Affordable Care Act.
The Associated Press reports individuals now need to obtain insurance coverage by February 14 in order to avoid being penalized.
The new insurance health exchanges’ open enrollment period kicked off on Oct. 1 and users have been battling website glitches, long wait times and errors on both state and federally-run insurance exchanges. The sign-up period was originally slated to last six months through March 31, 2014, before individuals would be fined $95 per year under the individual mandate portion of the law, if they chose not to enroll in a policy.
The AP cites confirmation from a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, that individuals actually have to enroll by Feb. 14 as coverage typically takes six weeks to kick in.
Coverage typically begins on the first of the month, so it’s necessary to enroll about six weeks early in order to have coverage by the end of the open enrollment period, the report states. Jackson Hewitt tax preparation services originally pointed out the stipulation, which the AP confirmed.
Individuals can purchase coverage in either state or federally-run insurance exchanges, and enrollment information can be found on Healthcare.gov. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates 8.6 million people visited the site during week one of the exchange rollout, however, HHS declined to comment how many people were able to successfully enroll.
The average cost for a mid-tier plan for Americans via these exchanges will be approximately $328 per month, according to the government. This amount doesn’t include subsidies, which will be available for those making up to 400% of the federal poverty level, which is around $45,000 a year for an individual and $94,000 for a family of four.