NEW YORK (7/16/13)--The Obama administration's decision to delay the employer-mandate portion of the health care law means that a small group of people who thought they'd be covered by their employers in 2014 will have to wait another year (The New York Times July 3).
The Affordable Health Care Act passed in 2010 requires certain employers to offer their employees suitable health coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, or pay a fine. The new deadline for that requirement is Jan. 1, 2015.
The people most likely to be affected by the new deadline are those who work for companies with more than 50 employees working 30 or more hours a week and that don't offer insurance. Because 94% of employers in that category already offer health care, the effect is expected to be small.
You won't be affected by the delay if you already are already insured through:
If you're part of the small group affected by the delay, it's important that you find out how to buy your own insurance at one of the newly created state exchanges. The individual mandate portion of the health care law requires you to purchase it by Jan. 1, 2014 or face fines. That's still in effect.
Open enrollment for the state-based health insurance exchanges begins on Oct. 1, but you don't have to wait. Many state exchange websites are already open for your exploration.
You might qualify for a subsidy to help pay for your insurance if your modified adjusted gross income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For example, 400% of the federal poverty level in 2013 is about $46,000 for an individual and $94,000 for a family of four.
Learn more about the exchanges, get prepared for open enrollment, and find out if you qualify for a subsidy by visiting the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov and clicking on either the Small Business or Individual tab.