Last day to enroll for health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act

Mar 31, 2014

Today is the day.

If you don’t sign up for health-care coverage by midnight tonight, you might not be able to get coverage until next year. And if you choose not to get covered, you might get dinged on your 2014 taxes –also known as the "individual shared responsibility payment."

If you can afford health coverage, but you decide to do without, here's how much you might have to pay:

  • In 2014, it's 1% of your yearly income or $95 per person, whichever is higher.
  • In 2015, it’s 2% of your yearly income or $325 per person, whichever is higher.
  • In 2016 and later years, it’s 2.5% of your yearly income or $695 per person, whichever is higher. 
  • After 2016, the fee is adjusted for inflation.

To avoid any potential fees, you need to sign up by tonight.

There are exceptions.

If you start an application and check a box that says you have encountered technical problems along the way, you will be given more time to complete your application.

The Washington Post reports that extension will go up until mid-April:

Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

And there are other exceptions as well, such as medical emergencies, natural disasters, or if you're a victim of domestic abuse. Here's a link cataloging all those exceptions.

Changing life circumstances allow you to sign up outside of the deadline as well – for example when you get married, move to another state, have a child, lose health-care coverage, or if your income circumstances change.

And for those who qualify for expanded Medicaid in Michigan, Melissa Anders over at MLive points out that you can start applying tomorrow:

The plan is available to residents ages 19 to 64 who are not currently eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $16,000 for a single person and $33,000 for a family of four. 

So that's how you get your healthcare coverage in order.

Now, about those taxes...