There may be a silver lining in tax season, yet. The federal government recently announced a special enrollment period for the estimated 6 million Americans who may face a tax penalty this year.
If you read our most recent blog post, you may remember that special enrollment periods allow individuals to sign up for healthcare coverage outside of the open enrollment period. Usually, special enrollment periods require a qualifying life event for eligibility, but this year, the government created one with a little more flexibility, that will prevent people from receiving tax penalties in the future.
Why Is There a Special Enrollment Period This Year?
Many Americans are unaware that under the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Citizens are required to pay a tax penalty if they do not have health coverage. This is the first year that that policy is taking effect, which means that many Americans will face a $95 penalty per uninsured adult and a $47.50 penalty per uninsured child, or a penalty of 1% of his/her annual household income (whichever is greater), if those in their family were uninsured in 2014.
That penalty will increase if coverage is not sought in 2015. To avoid citizens living without coverage, the federal government has opened this special enrollment period to those who can demonstrate that they were unaware of the penalties.
How Long Do I Have to Sign Up? Will I Still Have to Pay a Penalty?
The special enrollment period is open until April 30, 2015. Those who are currently uninsured have until then to sign up, without having a qualifying life event. However, it doesn’t mean total avoidance of a penalty. Those who already face a 2014 penalty will still have to pay it. Individuals may still have to pay for a gap in coverage in 2015 on their taxes next year, but the good news is that you can avoid the full penalty for 2015.
Should I Take Advantage of This if I Don’t Have Insurance?
Absolutely. In order to avoid a fine in 2016, it’s imperative to sign up for insurance if you have not done so already.
Should you need help finding the insurance plan that is right for you, contact The Wooten Agency in Cary, NC today. We serve individuals throughout the entire state of North Carolina and are happy to help you find the plan that fits your needs!