Key dates you should know about the healthcare rollout

CREATED Dec. 3, 2013

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The new healthcare law is being rolled out on a timetable.

There are key dates you will have to meet or should know about as part of the law.

Many of those dates were set in stone, but because of the disastrous rollout of the government's healthcare website, those dates are changing.  In many cases that's happening nearly at the last moment.

So what you read here could change.

As it stands now, the new law takes affect January 1st, 2014.  Beginning next year, "We all have to obtain coverage somewhere or pay a penalty," said Mike Gotzler with the QTI Group.

If you want coverage to start on January 1st, you were going to have to sign up by December 15th.  The Government has now delayed that deadline until the 23rd. 

You can, however, still sign up for coverage next year until March 31st.  That's the most important date.  "You're going to have to wait for the next open enrollment period which begins next October unless you have a life altering event, so you get married or you lose your job," said Jessica Gathirimu with the Milwaukee Health Department.

Now what about businesses.  Small employers will be able to purchase coverage through something called the SHOP exchange.  There was a December 15th deadline to sign up for that if you wanted coverage that starts January 1st.

That's the the deadline, sort of.  The problem is the website that was going to be set up for small businesses is in worse shape than the one for individuals.  It won't be ready this year.  So to sign up, "They have to go old school, so to speak and go direct, it means they have to complete a paper application," Gotzler said.

There was a deadline in Wisconsin for people moving onto Medicare.  That would have already passed for people who wanted coverage at the start of 2014.  But given all the problems, that deadline is getting pushed back.