NEW YORK (MainStreet) — White House officials have announced that the open enrollment deadline for 2014 coverage under the Affordable Care Act will not be extended past March 31. This leaves only one month left for individuals to sign up on the law's exchanges for health care plans that start this year. After that, enrollment will close for the general public but will remain available for anyone who has a "life event."

Life events under the law mean any major change in personal status that would require you also to change your insurance. Common examples include changing jobs or marital status.

March 31 is the third and last deadline for ACA coverage starting this year. Individuals who signed up by February 15 could get a health plan starting March 1. Anyone who remains uninsured can still get insurance by the end of the month without penalty, however coverage won't begin until April 1.

After the rocky start to Healthcare.gov, Obamacare's flagship website, many people wondered if the White House would extend the deadline for individual enrollment in 2014. Administration officials closed the door on that option with their announcement.

In a follow up release, officials have also said that they are extending the deadline to move off of non-qualifying policies. Anyone who currently holds an individual health care plan that does not meet all of the ACA's requirements can continue to renew it for up to two more years, assuming state law allows and the insurance company continues to offer the plan.

If not for this extension, insurance companies would have had to begin canceling non-compliant policies by this October.

Open enrollment for 2015 will begin later this year and last from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015.

--Written for MainStreet by Eric Reed, a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the subjects of career and travel. You can read more of his work at his website www.wanderinglawyer.com.