insurance

You missed Obamacare's deadline. Now what?

Experts have predicted that what few plans remain available on the private market following open enrollment won't meet the minimum essential coverage necessary to avoid the individual mandate tax penalty.

Chollet expects to see noncompliant policies fade into the sunset as consumer demand withers.

"By the time we've had a few years of exchange policies and open enrollment under our belt, I think those policy pools are going to be so small that it's really not going to matter," she says.

8. Some uninsured will avoid tax penalty

Unless you qualify for an exemption from the ACA individual mandate, you could face a tax penalty of either 1 percent of your annual household income or $95, whichever is greater, on your 2014 federal income tax if you remain uninsured this year. You'll also be on the hook for your own health care expenses.

You'll be spared the individual mandate penalty of the Affordable Care Act if:

  • You don't earn enough to file a federal tax return.
  • Health insurance would cost more than 8 percent of your income.
  • You belong to certain federally recognized tribes or religious sects.
  • You're incarcerated.
  • You're in the country illegally
  • You're uninsured for fewer than three months of the year.

9. Eyes turn to 'premium creep'

Now that open enrollment has ended, consumer groups are waiting to see how insurers adjust their rates to the new excise taxes and regulations placed upon them by Obamacare.

An April survey of health insurance brokers by Morgan Stanley found that rates on plans in the individual market have increased 12 percent, on average, this year.

"We'll continue to be watchful about premiums because the insurers will have a new round of bids on the exchanges this fall," says Feder.

10. Prep underway for next open enrollment

Having survived their trial by digital overload, exchange architects will use the offseason to add new functionality to HealthCare.gov and other state exchanges.

Chollet says the holy grail sought this year is the ability for users to view details of a plan's doctor network on a state exchange without having to jump to the insurer's website.

"Ideally, you would be able to key in the name of your physician's practice, and the website would display all of the plans that include that practice," she says.

Oh, and about those 7.5 million new policyholders? You can expect most of them to return to the exchange this fall, either to renew their coverage or shop for a new plan.

"Anyone who qualifies for a subsidy or whose economic situation has changed for any reason will be on the exchange to sort that out," Chollet says.

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