Obamacare, debt, elections, taxes: Welcome to 2014

Important dates in 2014 that everyone needs to be ready for because they could change the way we all live. Photo: Calendar

WASHINGTON, December 6, 2013 — 2014 brings several important changes and deadlines for Obamacare, elections, taxes and government funding. Following are the dates American people need to be aware of:

January 1, 2014: The Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, goes into effect for those who registered for coverage before December 23, 2013. The original sign up date for coverage to begin on January 1 was December 15, 2013 but the administration extended the deadline by eight days after the website rollout did not work. The birth control mandate will also go into effect and be part of the Obamacare coverage. The University of Notre Dame and the administration recently met for talks about the contraception coverage. The guidelines will require most employers to provide a range of birth control in their insurance plans without cost sharing. Churches and houses of worship are exempt and employees of religiously affiliated institutions, such as Catholic schools, will receive birth control coverage directly from their insurers.

January 15, 2014: Government funding runs out. In October the federal government reached a temporary agreement which ended the 16 day shutdown. If a permanent solution is not reached by January 15, another shutdown will happen. The deadline to come up with the framework for a deal is December 13, 2013, because it is the last day that the House is scheduled to be in Washington before heading back to their home states for the holidays. The estimates from the October shutdown are 6.6 million lost work days, 120,000 lost private sector jobs at a cost to the country of $2 billion but still Congress has already missed its first deadline on a deal. According to the Washington Times, Jacqueline Klimas, the lawmakers who will actually be writing the bill after the agreement is made, had wanted a deadline of December 2, 2013 but that date came and went with no deal or meeting occurring. If January 15 comes and goes without a deal, the government will have another partial shutdown to contend with.

January 15, 2014: The second year of sequestration begins. If Congress does not repeal the across the board cuts, many government agencies will need to furlough workers again.

February 1, 2014: Janet Yellen’s term begins. Yellen is trying to become the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. The Senate Banking Committee approved her nomination with a 14 to 8 vote.  She still needs to be approved by the full Senate which is due to vote later this month. Concern over Yellen is not based on her actual qualifications but on the fact that she has not distanced herself from the “easy-money” policies of an indefinite stimulus and massive bond purchases.

February 7, 2014: Debt cushion ends. If action has not taken place before this date, the U.S. Treasury will need to take emergency measures to cover the countries obligations.

March 31, 2013: Yahoo! said that it will encrypt all of its data by the end of March 2014. The company announced that with so much attention coming after reports of the U.S. government gaining access to information, the encryption will make it more difficult for unauthorized persons to gain the information.

March 31, 2014: All Americans will be required to have health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This date will mark the end of open enrollment on the exchanges. After this date the only way one can enroll for insurance through the exchanges prior to the next open season is if there is a life changing event such as losing a job, having a child or getting a divorce. If a person does not have health insurance coverage either through their employer, their spouses employers, their parents or the exchanges that person will be hit with a penalty after this date of $95 or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher. The penalties will increase starting in 2015. If someone refuses to pay the fine, the IRS will deduct it from the tax refund. If the uninsured need medical care, they will be required to pay the full cost of the care in addition to the penalty fee.

April 1, 2014: Washington D.C. primary. On this date the primaries in Washington D.C. for the delegate to Congress from the District as well as the Mayoral candidates will be held. Although Washington D.C.’s primary will have most of the focus on the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians will be represented as well. Although Democrat candidates need to collect 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot but Libertarian and Republican candidates only need 2 and 273 due to being smaller parties in the city. Republicans and Libertarians are planning on competing for all offices in the general election.

April 15, 2014: Tax Day. Although there was a delayed start to the tax season this year due to the government shutdown, taxes will still be due on the regularly scheduled day, April 15. If one needs an extension it needs to be filled on tax day.

June 10, 2014: Virginia Primary. Mark Warner is up for re-election and therefore a primary will be held for his Republican challenger. Virginia is an open primary state which means that any registered voter can vote in either party’s primary. Virginia does not have party registration so no one designated party affiliation. The only restriction is that no voter may vote in more than one political party’s primary on the same Election Day. All eleven congressional districts in the state are also up for re-election.

June 24, 2014: Maryland Primary. Governor Martin O’Malley will be term limited in 2014 so primaries will be held for both Democratic and Republican candidates. Although it is up to the parties to decide who may vote in their primaries, generally only registered voter affiliated with a party may vote in that party’s primary election. Neither of Maryland’s Senators are up for election but all 8 congressional districts are up for re-election.

October 15, 2014: Open enrollment on the health exchanges for coverage in 2015 begins. In future years, Oct. 15 will also be the opening date for enrollment coverage.

November 2014: The Obamacare exchange for small businesses is expected to be up and running in November 2014. The Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, will be available for companies with 50 or fewer full-time workers. Its opening was delayed from a scheduled Oct. 1, 2013 start.

November 4, 2014: General election. All members of congress are up for re-election. One Senate seat is up for election in the state of Virginia and a new Governor will be elected in Maryland.

December 7, 2014: Open enrollment for 2015 coverage closes. In future years, Dec. 7 also will be the closing date for enrollment.

 

 


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Susan L Ruth

Susan L. Ruth is a long-time Washington, DC resident with extensive ties throughout the community.  She is a genealogical researcher and writer, and is an active volunteer in the Northern Virginia competitive swimming community.  Susan previously worked providing life-skills to head injured adults. 

Susan and her husband Kerry currently live in Northern Virginia with their three sons, Ryley, Casey and Jack and their American Bulldog, Leila.

 

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