You don’t know how much it hurts us to have to cooperate with Federal impositions, but… we’re all in this, direct care docs, concierge docs, and fee-for-service docs planning on transitioning. We found a Washington Post article (article no longer available on Washington Post’s website) that explains an unfortunate loophole (or fortunate, if you’re the one collecting the fines). As you may have heard, March 31 was the declared cut-off date to avoid any Obamacare fines. But nope, it’s come to light that patients will not be considered “insured” until the two weeks of processing is completed (we’ll pretend their submission is “taking a red tape holiday”), and get this, insurance is typically activated on the first of the month. What’s this mean? Patients need to enroll six weeks before the cutoff date, February 15, 2014, to avoid any fines.
Here’s the brief explanation from the Jackson Hewitt tax preparation company. They first pointed out the wrinkle with the health care law’s least popular requirement.
Health insurance coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month, and it takes up to 15 days to process applications.
You still have to be covered by March 31 to avoid the new penalties for remaining uninsured. But to successfully accomplish that you have to send in your application by the middle of February. Coverage would then start on March 1st.
As if we needed any more fuel for our red tape fire. It was burning plenty strong before another quagmire like this appeared. But, it’s a good thing someone caught it early. If you’re treating any uninsured patients in your clinics, make sure you let them know about the date change, and discuss the implications of not getting insurance. It’s not a crime, instead it’s a tax fine of approximately $100. Although, if you want our opinion, we’re sure that more fine loopholes will rear their head before March.