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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

6 Changes to the Affordable Care Act

By Randy Dotinga

Reviewed by Lisa Zamosky

WebMD Health News

Nov. 27, 2013 -- To put it in surgical terms, the Affordable Care Act has had some work done. Here are six major changes made in recent months.

1. Consumers Have an Extra Week to Buy 2014 Coverage

Because of all the technical glitches affecting health insurance Marketplace web sites, the federal government is giving consumers more time to buy coverage that will begin on Jan. 1,  2014. People can now buy coverage as late as Dec. 23, 2013, instead of Dec. 15. This only applies to the federally run Marketplaces. States that run their own may have different deadlines.

Consumers will still be able to buy coverage for 2014 after this deadline. But it won't start on Jan. 1, and they must buy it no later than March 31, 2014, when open enrollment ends.

2. Customers Have More Time to Sign Up

The deadline to avoid a tax penalty was also extended. Although the open enrollment period has not changed and still runs through the end of March, to avoid a penalty, the system required people to buy coverage by Feb. 15. 

People can now buy coverage all the way through the last day of open enrollment on March 31, 2014, without facing penalties.

3. Enrollment Period Will Be Later for 2015

Americans can buy coverage for 2015 from Nov. 14, 2014, to Jan. 15, 2015. That's a change from the previously announced enrollment period of Oct. 15, 2014, to Dec. 7, 2014.

Officials said the change will give insurers more time to figure out their rates for 2015.

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