Changes to ObamaCare and Delays to ObamaCare

Below is a full list of ObamaCare delays and ObamaCare changes that affect how the law works and start and end dates for the program. ObamaCare has been subject to a few major changes and delays that everyone should be aware of including 14 changes by legislation, a few changes via the Supreme Court, and a few agency related changes that resulted in delays and extensions (as of October 2015). Important ObamaCare changes include pushing back the opening of the small business marketplace, extending deadlines to obtain insurance, and providing additional exemptions. Below we cover the important changes in detail and then link to a list of all changes.

ObamaCare Exemption Delay

ObamaCare’s legislation includes a short coverage gap exemption that allows three months in a row without health insurance. This exemption can cover the months of January through March allowing folks to avoid the fee if they sign up for insurance before March 15th, 2014. However those who sign up between March 15th and March 31st, 2014 will get a special exemption for April as well since their coverage won’t start until May 1st. This rule was passed to avoid confusion over the marketplaces open enrollment which closes on March 31st.

ObamaCare Extension Until Mid-April

An ObamaCare extension has been announced that will extend open enrollment until mid-April for those who signed up, but have not enrolled in a health plan. People will be able to check a box that says they had trouble signing up and will be granted an extension (called a special enrollment period) allowing them to enroll in a plan up until about mid-April. After mid-April the only way to be granted an extension under a special enrollment period will be to contact the call center and request one.

ObamaCare Tax Credit Changes

Some people in some states who bought insurance outside of the marketplace due to technical issues with their states website, despite qualifying for subsidies, can retroactively sign up for a marketplace plan and receive federal subsidies. Since the marketplace closes on March 31st, 2014 this change has to be made before the deadline. Contact your insurance company for further details. ObamaCare Subsidies.

Individual Mandate Delay for Canceled Plans

Health plans that don’t have a grandfathered status and don’t comply with the ACA needed to be switched to a qualifying plan by 2014. This led to many Americans losing their plan despite believing they could “keep their plan”. A fix was announced that allows for insurance companies to reinstate health plans that were canceled until 2015 and has allowed insurance companies to renew other non-compliant health plans until 2015 as well. The ObamaCare change also included an exemption from the mandate to buy health insurance or pay a fee in 2014 for these folks.

ObamaCare Employer Mandate Delay

The mandate for employers with fifty or more full-time equivalent employees to provide health coverage was pushed back from 2014 to 2015.

ObamaCare Small Business Health Options Marketplace Delay

ObamaCare’s open enrollment for small businesses originally started during 2014 open enrollment (Oct 1st, 2013 – March 31st, 2014). However the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) marketplace that allows businesses with 50 or less full-time equivalent employees to enroll doesn’t start until open enrollment 2015 (Nov 15th – Jan 15th 2014). Starting 2016 small businesses with between 50-100 full-time equivalent employees can use the marketplace in states that don’t allow this sooner. Small businesses can still get small business tax credits through an agent retroactively since 2010 and moving forward each year until they can use the marketplace to apply for tax credits.

ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion Changes

When the NFIB took the law to court they managed to strike a major blow to the program. States are now able to opt-out of expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare which has led to millions of Americans going without insurance and continuing to fall into the Medicaid gap. Learn more about ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion.

ObamaCare Is a Tax Change

During the NFIB ruling the fee for not purchasing health insurance was clarified to be a tax. This ruling cemented the Affordable Care Act as “the law of the land”.

ObamaCare Preexisting Conditions Pool Changes

A preexisting conditions pool opened under the law had to be closed early as it ran out of funding. This pool helped to pad the transition between insurers being able to deny those with preexisting conditions and charge them based on health and the new regulations that outlawed this.

ObamaCare Congress Change

Staffers who had plans through work (i.e. the federal government) got stuck in a loophole that made all congress members buy insurance through the marketplace, but prevented them from getting subsidies or employer contributions toward their health insurance making it unaffordable for this group. You can learn more about the congress ObamaCare exemption here.


Even though TRICARE doesn’t meet every guideline put for by the ACA it has been given a pass and still counts as coverage to avoid the fee.


The law contains a whole title dedicated to the “CLASS Act” .Congress repealed the CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) program of government-subsidized long-term-care insurance.

Many More Changes

In all 14 bills and a few Supreme Court rulings have made around 40 notable changes to the PPACA. You can see a list of changes we haven’t covered in detail above here.

What Happens if I Missed ObamaCare Open Enrollment?

If you miss open enrollment in ObamaCare you won’t be able sign up again until the next open enrollment starts November 15th, 2014 without qualifying for a special enrollment period.

ObamaCare Changes and Delays