CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- People may want to mark their calendars for a few deadlines on purchasing health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act, also called "Obamacare," requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a fine.
But deadlines can be tricky and there is still some confusion over when people must buy insurance.
Open enrollment began this month and lasts through March 31. Officials previously said people had to have coverage in place by the end of open enrollment, meaning people would have to buy insurance by Feb. 15.
Yet, officials recently said as long as people purchase insurance from the exchange within the open enrollment window, then they will not have to pay the penalty.
How much is the penalty?
According to healthcare.gov, if people don't have coverage in 2014, they will have to pay $95 per adult, $47.50 per child or 1 percent of the taxable income, whichever is higher.
This increases to $325 or 2 percent of a person's taxable income the next year. There are several exemptions, including if a person is uninsured for three months or fewer or if people undergo certain hardships.
According to the site, if a person doesn't pay the penalty, the IRS will hold back the amount from future tax refunds.
Jill Cranston Rice, an attorney in Dinsmore's Morgantown office, said people have 60 days following a change in coverage to elect into a new employer's coverage or go to the exchange. Rice said there is a special enrollment in the exchange for such events.
Another deadline is coming up in 2015 for businesses. As of Jan. 1, 2015, the employer mandate kicks in, explained David Whaley, a Dinsmore attorney in Cincinnati. This mandate applies to large employers to provide coverage to all employees or pay a penalty.
Whaley explained there are questions whether the fiscal year rule will apply for 2015 the way it did for 2014. He said the mandate originally was set up where the fiscal rule applied when the mandate was set for Jan. 1, 2014. This is for businesses maintaining coverage on a non-calendar year basis.
According to the health exchange website, if an employer does not offer coverage before the individual mandate kicks in but may offer it in the future, people are encouraged to go to the exchange.