North Carolina Health News is building this page with resources to help readers learn about the new Affordable Care Act. If you have questions or suggestions about what you’d like to see on this page, please let us know at: editor_at_northcarolinahealthnews_dot_org and we’ll do our best to provide you with what you need to know about the new law.



Key Dates for the Affordable Care Act

calendar image courtesy Heiko Klingele, flickr creative commonsOCTOBER 1: Consumers can start signing up for insurance coverage via the online marketplaces in each state.

DECEMBER 15: Deadline to sign up for coverage if you want it to begin on Jan 1, 2014.

JANUARY 1, 2014: Coverage available through the online marketplaces goes into effect. Also, this is the date by which everyone must buy insurance or face paying a tax penalty. In the first year, that penalty will be $95, but in subsequent years, the penalty increases to a maximum of $695 which will take effect in 2016.

MARCH 31, 2014: Enrollment period for insurance coverage available through the online marketplaces closes. The next open enrollment period will be Oct 15-Dec 7, but if you have a “qualifying life change,” such as marriage, the birth of a child, or the loss of a job that had insurance, you can sign up outside of the enrollment period.

North Carolina Health News Coverage of the ACA rollout:

North Carolina Insurance Rates a Mixed Bag – Sept. 27, 2013

A Quick Guide to the Health Insurance Marketplaces – Sept. 30, 2013

Obamacare Rollout Bumpy, Busy in North Carolina – Oct. 2, 2013

Three Things to Know Before Buying a Health Plan – and Where to Find Them – Oct. 3, 2013

States’ Medicaid Decisions Cost Community Health Centers – Oct. 17, 2013

No Clear Answers for Farmers With Obamacare – Oct. 23, 2013’s Problems Were Predictable, Says Computer Science Guru – Oct. 31, 2013

Why Insurers Cancer Policies, And What You Can Do When It Happens  – Nov. 12, 2013


Need help signing up?

Enrollment will be open through March 31, 2014, and for those who enroll before Dec. 15, 2013, coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014. North Carolinians interested in applying for coverage have the option of calling a national hotline (1-800-318-2596), going online at or, or getting personal assistance from a certified enrollment assister to secure health insurance through the Marketplace. For North Carolina specifically, individuals interested in an appointment with a Navigator to enroll in coverage will have access to a statewide hotline that will be available beginning October 14 by calling 1-855-733-3711.

To help individuals and families better afford their health insurance, the federally-certified Navigators and Outreach and Enrollment Specialists have received extensive in the insurance plan options offered by the marketplace, along with the cost-sharing reductions and premium tax credits eligibility. Local residents will have the opportunity to schedule appointments with Navigators to receive assistance in applying for health insurance plans and pursuing tax credits and reductions as well as help enrolling in other federal and state health care programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Assistance will be available to consumers who are disabled, do not speak English or are unfamiliar with health insurance.

The following entities have been designated by Washington as certified Navigators and Enrollment Specialists:



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