February 15 is your last opportunity to enroll for Obamacare (ACA) coverage for 2015. It’s also the deadline to make changes to your existing Obamacare coverage for this year. The only exception will be for those who experience a “qualifying life event,” like a job change or the birth of a child.
If you sign up, or alter your existing policy, by February 15 your new policy will be in effect starting March 1. After the open enrollment closes, consumer must wait until the next open enrollment period (currently set for October 15 through December 7 2015) to purchase a plan or make changes for their 2016 coverage.
During the current open enrollment period 9.9 million people have signed up for health coverage –7.5 million through the federal exchange and another 2.4 million on the state exchanges. The Obama administration had set a goal of enrolling 9.1 million people this year.
The administration believes the numbers will continue to climb during this last week of enrollment. Call centers and walk-in help centers will be fully staffed, in anticipation of a last minute surge of interest. Despite this, people are being urged not to wait until the last minute. A spike in sign-ups could overwhelm healthcare.gov and its call-in centers. If you want to make sure you’re covered, and in compliance with the law, sign up ASAP.
If you are uninsured and don’t enroll by February 15, you will face a penalty – 2% of your yearly household income, or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child for the year (up to a family maximum of $975), whichever is higher – next tax season unless you qualify for an exemption.
The federal government estimates that as many as six million households who did not have coverage in 2014 may have to pay a penalty this year. The penalty is $95, or 1% of income.
Those who underestimated their income and received subsidies for their healthcare policy will either receive smaller tax refunds than they expected or will owe the IRS money. H&R Block projects 3.4 million taxpayers will have to pay back part of their premiums.
Dental Coverage and Obamacare
There are two types of dental insurance available through the Marketplace; health care plans that include dental insurance (embedded) and stand-alone plans. For the most part, you cannot buy a stand-alone plan unless you also purchase a health care policy.
The ACA does not require you to purchase dental coverage for people who are 18 years of age or older. But if you are purchasing health coverage for a person who is 18 years old or younger through the Marketplace, dental coverage must be made available to you – either embedded or via a stand-alone plan. Under federal lawyou are not required to purchase pediatric dental insurance. Federal subsidies are not available for stand-alone dental coverage.
When you purchase health insurance for children from a broker or company, you will be asked if you already have a kids’ dental plan. If you don’t, depending on the state you live in, the company may have to sell you a plan that includes pediatrics dental coverage (whether you have kids or not). In other states, you have to provide “reasonable assurance” that you have or will soon purchase a pediatrics dental plan.
You can find out more about Obamacare and dental coverage in our ACA Resource Center.
To ensure your own peace of mind, purchase a dental savings plan to ease the costs of the oral care that is necessary to maintain your health. Dental savings plans are not insurance, they are an alternative to insurance aimed at providing reasonably priced dental care to plan members. As such, dental savings plans do not require accreditation under the Affordable Care Act.
:DentalPlans does not have open or closed enrollment periods, you can purchase a dental savings plan whenever you want or need one. That said, new members who sign up today get 1 month free! One of the dental savings specialists from our :DP AtYourService team will be happy to help you choose the perfect dental savings plan for your needs.