Question: When is the last day to sign up for Affordable Care Act / Obamacare?
Quick Answer: Last day to apply for health insurance is March 31, 2014 but you should apply before February 14 to avoid tax penalty.
The last day to apply for the new health care, Affordable Care Act is March 31, 2014. But with the new health care individual mandate, currently uninsured will need to get health insurance by March 31 in order to avoid tax penalties.
But in order to accomplish that, the insurance signup must be completed around mid-February and coverage would then be initiated by March 1.
The reason for the mid-February date is that health insurance typically starts at the beginning of a month and it takes up to 15 days to process the Affordable Care Act / Obamacare application.
For example, if a person signs up for health insurance on February 10 and it takes 2 week to process the application, then the whole process is finished on February 24 and the health insurance starts on March 1. Health insurance coverage only starts on the first of the month.
If you signup for Affordable Care Act after February 15, most likely you will be accessed tax penalty for not having health insurance coverage by March 31. Since 2013/2014 is the first year of implementation, you can likely get the penalty waived as long as you signed up for the health insurance coverage by March 31.
In subsequent years (for 2015 and afterwards), the last date for open enrollment is December 7.