Affordable Care Act deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan is earlier than first stated

TULSA - That often-cited March 31, 2014 deadline is dead wrong.  

You must be covered by March 31, meaning you should enroll in whichever healthcare plan you chose by February 15, 2014 or face penalties.      

Said Roger Flippo, a licensed, certified health insurance agent of the penalties: "In Oklahoma just like anywhere else in the United States -- there are penalties that a person would have to pay if they do not get health insurance."

The Feb. 15 date to enroll is because coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month and takes up to 15 days to process.

Millions of uninsured Americans now can, and must, get insurance.

Tulsa realtor Habib Tata has been looking at marketplace options and is pleased. Especially now that coverage can't be denied due to pre-existing conditions; which two of the four members of his family have.

"There are a lot of good options right now available for us compared to what we had before," Tata said.

Some are trying to decide whether to take workplace insurance or go test the marketplace through www.healthcare.gov.

It's a decision that's on the mind of Craig Norred after the birth of his son, Sampson. "He's my main thought, whenever I get insurance," Norred said.

People who can get insurance through their employer can still choose to shop the marketplace in Oklahoma, but if that workplace insurance is qualified under the Affordable Care Act, no subsidies are available when choosing a marketplace insurance plan.

Experts say talk to your human relations representative to find out if your workplace insurance plan is qualified under ACA.

Those subsidies that either reduce your monthly premiums or give you a break on your taxes are meant to make insurance affordable. And Tulsa CPA Steve Milam says the options look good.

"The more modest your level of income, then the more significant of a discount you'll get on your premium," Milam explains.

And avoid fraudulent offers. If you receive any offer saying you can get a better plan by paying someone to walk you through it that's pure fiction. "You should not have to pay anybody any kind of fee to help you navigate the exchanges," Flippo advises.

Across the nation licensed, certified agents like Flippo will help you navigate the marketplace for free.  Click here  (http://bit.ly/findanagent) to search for an agent near you.

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