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December 24th, 2013 2:02 pm
Extended Obamacare Deadline Explained

If you’re fretting over whether to interrupt Christmas Eve activities to sign up for an Obamacare insurance plan, fear not.

“Today’s the deadline to sign up for health insurance on HealthCare.gov if you want that insurance to start by January 1st. But that’s it,” explains Ezra Klein. “If you don’t sign up today and instead sign up on Friday, or next Tuesday, your insurance will kick in a bit after January 1st. There’s no difference in premiums. There’s no difference in plans. There are no penalties.”

I bolded the last sentence to draw attention to an important piece of information often missed in the reporting about the January 1st start date. As Klein says, “The [individual] mandate only kicks in when people have a coverage gap of longer than three consecutive months during the year. That means that buying insurance any time before the end of March [i.e. the end of the open enrollment period on the exchanges] is good enough to avoid the penalty.”

The upshot: Maybe by March the federal government will have fixed all the problems with Obamacare. Maybe. For now, enjoy the Christmas season.

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