A provision in the Affordable Care Act health care reform law (also known as Obamacare) that requires most Americans to have health insurance has been delayed until April 1, 2014. The individual mandate requiring Americans to have insurance was originally scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2014.
The first month of open enrollment on health insurance marketplaces has been plagued by glitches and technical difficulties. The problems are impacting healthcare.gov, the federal government site that is handling marketplace enrollment for states such as North Dakota that did not to set up their own marketplaces. The delay will give North Dakotans more time to comply with the requirement to have insurance.
Americans will now have until March 31, 2014 to sign up for an insurance plan to avoid the penalty. Open enrollment for 2014 runs from October 2013 to March 31, 2014. The delay means that everyone who signs up during the open enrollment period will avoid the financial penalty for not having insurance. Americans looking to have a marketplace insurance plan by January 1, 2014 will still need to enroll through the marketplace by December 15, 2013.
You do not need to purchase insurance through the marketplace to comply with the requirement to have insurance. If you are uninsured and looking for coverage, you can also search and apply for coverage at BCBSND.com.
Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.