The Obama administration “will delay enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance mandate,” according to a breaking news report from the Wall Street Journal‘s Marketwatch.
Reports vary about how long of a delay it will be. CNBC says the delay will be 6 weeks, while Marketwatch suggests it’s more like two months. Some sources, like the Washington Post, are saying it’s not a delay at all.
The deadline to enroll remains the same, March 31, 2014. But the deadline to become insured has been adjusted to account for delays in processing applications. Previously Americans needed to actually be insured by March 31 or pay the penalty of $95 or 1% of annual income (whichever is higher).
Keeping the enrollment deadline the same as the need-to-be-insured deadline – both March 31 – would have meant some Americans bought insurance by the end of March like they were supposed to, but would end up getting penalized because their application took weeks to process and insurance coverage only started in April or May.
To reflect that time lag, HHS is altering the deadline for your insurance to begin to late April or May.
An official announcement will follow shortly.