Affordable Care Act Delay May Let Texans Keep Their Plans Longer

- At the end of this month open enrollment for healthcare will be closed and fines for not having coverage will start April first.

But this week, on the heels of the deadline, more changes to the Affordable Care Act were announced.

Insurance Agent Kelly Fristoe says that although the website is working much better than it was at the end of 2013 it is still not easy to navigate alone.

He says the new changes could make things more complicated for people with plans outside of the healthcare exchange.

Fristoe says the Affordable Care Act is starting to meet some of it's goals, as the deadline to enroll fast approaches..

“I've had people in my office that are buying coverage for the first time ever,” says Fristoe.

But if you aren't someone who's been able to get coverage and want to avoid a fine, it's important you get a plan, on or off,  the exchange by march 31st because after that.

“In order to buy a plan outside of the open enrollment period, they must have some sort of qualifying event,” says Fristoe.

Getting married, quitting or losing your job or your employer dropping your healthcare benefits would all count as an event to let you into the system to purchase a plan.

And if you're wanting to stick with your current plan a new delay could let you keep it longer.

“All those plans that were projected would have to change be canceled, go away and they would have to enroll in a new health insurance plan December the 1st that meets the minimum essential benefits, actuarial value and the affordability test,” says Fristoe.

That December 1st 2014 deadline has now been moved to December 1st 2016

Fristoe says just because the Obama administration delays the deadline doesn't necessarily mean Texans will get to keep their plan for another two years.

Each state has to evaluate if they think the change is possible.

“They have people right now looking at parts of the law that they have to comply with, they may interrupt this law as it is that they aren't able to comply with this delay,” says Fristoe.

Fristoe says that should be decided in the next few weeks, until then it is unclear if Texans with plans outside the exchange will actually be able to keep their plans, at least for a few more years.

Again March 31st is the open enrollment deadline.

Fines for not having healthcare start on April first.

Right now open enrollment for 2015 is expected to start November 15th of this year.

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