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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Employees Have Extra Time to Sign Up for January 1st Health Coverage

Employees now have until December 23, 2013 to sign up for individual health insurance coverage through the new Health Insurance Exchanges -- to be covered on January 1, 2014. Originally the deadline was December 15th.
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Individual Health Insurance Exchanges - Important Dates

The dates and deadlines have changed slightly over the last month. Here's a summary of the dates for individual health insurance coverage - current as of today, November 25, 2013.
  • December 23, 2013: The last day to enroll in an individual Exchange health plan, if employees want coverage to start on January 1, 2014. (Updated from December 15th.)

  • January 1, 2014: Earliest coverage date for new individual qualified health plans.

  • March 31, 2014: Open enrollment for qualified health plans ends. If employees miss this date, they will likely have to wait until fall 2014 to enroll, unless they have a qualifying event. Then employees can enroll in a special enrollment period. To confirm, March 31 is the last day to sign up for a qualified health plan.

  • October 15, 2014 - December 7, 2014: Open enrollment period for 2015 qualified health plan coverage. 

Individual Health Insurance Exchanges - Tips for Signing Up for Coverage 

Here are a few tips for employees on signing up for coverage through the Health Insurance Exchanges:

  • Start the process now. Even though the deadline has been extended one week, encourage employees to start the process now. There will likely be a rush of people accessing the Exchange websites the first week in December. Click here to find your state's Exchange website.

  • Work with a health insurance broker. Employers can coordinate with a health insurance broker to help employees with coverage options. For example, bring in a health insurance broker to work one-on-one with employees just like you would with a 401(K) advisor. A health insurance broker can also help employees explore coverage options outside of the Exchanges (especially if they are not eligible for premium tax credits).

  • Gather paperwork before starting the application. Employees will need basic personal information and income information. For most people this means a recent paystub for income earners in their household.

See also: How to Sign Up for Individual Health Insurance via the Marketplaces.