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There is no penalty for employees eligible for employer health plan coverage for not having health insurance coverage effective January 2014 if they cannot enroll in their employer’s plan on January 1 due to a health plan year that starts later.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most individuals will be required to have minimum essential health coverage as of January 1, 2014, or face a penalty. In June of 2013, the IRS announced transition relief from the individual mandate for certain employees and their dependents not enrolled in their employer’s health plan in 2013. The transition relief applies when the employer’s health plan does not follow the calendar year and the plan year begins after January 1, 2014. Without the transition relief, employees would be required to pay a penalty for each month in 2014 they were without health coverage.

With the transition relief in IRS Notice 2013-42, an employee (or dependent) who is eligible to enroll in a non-calendar year eligible employer-sponsored plan with a plan year beginning in 2013 and ending in 2014 will not be liable for the individual mandate penalty for certain months in 2014. The transition relief begins in January 2014 and continues through the month in which the 2013-2014 plan year ends.

See the link below for the more detailed information in IRS Notice 2013-42.