The marketplace special enrollment period begins 60 days before your individual coverage is terminated. If you wait until after you lose coverage, you have 60 days from the loss of the coverage to enroll in a new marketplace plan.
After this first open enrollment period -- Oct. 1 to March 31 -- consumers can enroll in the marketplaces from Oct. 15, 2014, to Dec. 7, 2014, for the following plan year.
Q: I was told that eligibility for subsidies would be based on my 2012 income. Is this true? This presents a huge problem for households where the breadwinner (in our case, me) has lost her job in 2013. If I don't get a job, how am I going to afford both insurance for me and my husband on a much-reduced income? We won't be eligible for a subsidy based on my 2012 income. This, too, is a glitch, if those tasked with informing the community are not fully informed themselves!
A: You were given incorrect information. If you aren't sure about information you are receiving on the exchanges, always fall back on going to healthcare.gov or go to the website created by your state if it has its own marketplace. On healthcare.gov, search for the question "What income and household information do I provide when I apply for Marketplace coverage?" Here's the direct link: www.healthcare.gov/what-income-and-household-information-do-i-provide-when-i-apply-for-marketplace-coverage.
When you set up an account and apply for insurance on the exchanges, you'll need to estimate your income for 2014. The information will also be used to determine if you qualify for a premium tax credit that will lower the cost of your insurance. In the income estimate you'll include your salary, tips, net income from any self-employment or business, unemployment, Social Security payments, including disability payments (although but not Supplemental Security Income) and alimony. When estimating your 2014 income you will also have to include any retirement, investment and/or pension income, rental income and any other taxable income. You won't have to include child support, veteran disability payments or worker's compensation.