When it comes to Obamacare, the big date we’ve heard for a long time is Jan. 1, 2014. That’s the day the Affordable Care Act takes full effect, requiring most Americans to be covered, or pay a fine.
We’ve also heard that there’s a grace period — that in this first year, people have until March 31 get covered before the fine will kick in.
But, whoops! It turns out that Mar. 31 date is wrong, the Obama administration confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday. In order to have coverage by March 31, you need to enroll by Feb. 15 — in other words, the day after Valentine’s Day — to avoid the penalty.
Here’s why: It takes about two weeks to process applications. Insurance takes effect on the first of the month. You need to enroll by Feb. 15, for the insurance to take effect March 1. Insurance on April 1 is too late, and you will pay the fine.
The Jackson Hewitt tax preparation company first pointed out the wrinkle with the health care law’s least popular requirement.
An administration official confirmed it. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and insisted on anonymity. Continue reading