If you’re still looking to enroll for health insurance coverage, it’s important to know that some deadlines have changed. Here’s a look at the new dates, which give consumers more time to shop for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

  • You now have until Dec. 23 (rather than Dec. 15) to enroll in coverage that will be effective Jan. 1. If you miss that deadline, you can still enroll until March 31. However, if you sign up after Jan. 1, coverage starts within the next month or two, depending on the date you enroll. Individuals who obtain coverage by March 31 (including those who already have coverage) will meet the “individual mandate” for 2014.
  • You have until Jan. 10 to pay your health insurer the first month’s premium for coverage beginning Jan. 1. If you live in a state that runs its own Marketplace, check your state marketplace to find out the deadline where you live.
  • If you have coverage through the federally-run Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, you have until Jan. 31 to enroll in coverage through the Marketplace. PCIP enrollees who have not yet obtained other coverage can remain on PCIP through January, allowing more time to review plan options without a gap in coverage. If you’re in other state-run high-risk pools, check your state Department of Insurance about whether their current coverage is also being extended.

There are several ways to shop, apply for and enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace: online through the Marketplace website (www.healthcare.gov), in person, by mail or by phone (1-800-318-2596). If you need in-person assistance, you can find a certified health insurance Navigator or application counselor at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/ or by calling the Marketplace’s toll-free number.