SOURCE: GetInsured

February 13, 2015 14:44 ET

GetInsured and TaxACT Unveil 11 Reasons You May Not Have to Pay a Health Insurance Tax Penalty

Enroll by Sunday, February 15 to Avoid 2015 Penalty

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA and CEDAR RAPIDS, IA--(Marketwired - Feb 13, 2015) -  GetInsured, a leading innovator in consumer health insurance marketplace technology, and TaxACT, the critically acclaimed leader of affordable digital tax preparation solutions, today published 11 reasons consumers may not have to pay a health insurance tax penalty when they file their 2014 taxes.

One of the many new developments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the inextricable linking of your health insurance -- or lack of it -- and your tax return. "According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 77 percent of Americans are aware that there is a tax penalty for not buying health insurance," said Ivan Williams, senior policy analyst at GetInsured. "We think people will be surprised to learn that many taxpayers won't have to pay a penalty."

"We expect just 2 to 4 percent of taxpayers to pay the penalty this year*," said Mark Jaeger, Affordable Care Act expert at TaxACT. "The vast majority of consumers will not have to pay a penalty, either because they had adequate health insurance in 2014 or because they qualified for an exemption. We expect 10 to 20 percent of taxpayers to claim an exemption this year*," Jaeger explained. "Knowing whether you'll have a penalty is as easy as answering simple questions in TaxACT. The program guides you through the process and, if you need to pay the penalty, calculates your individual shared responsibility payment and completes your tax forms."

Those who are subject to the penalty will have to pay $95 per uninsured adult and $47.50 per child under the age of 18, or 1 percent of household income above the income tax filing threshold ($10,150 for an individual, $20,300 for a married couple filing jointly) -- whichever is greater.

The penalty for 2015 will be much higher, however, doubling to 2 percent of household income. To avoid the penalty for being uninsured in 2015, you'll want to enroll in health insurance before this Sunday, February 15.

In an effort to help you understand how the law affects you and your wallet, GetInsured and TaxACT have published the following 11 reasons you may not have to pay the piper.

  • You're adequately insured. If you had "minimum essential coverage" throughout 2014 -- either through your own, your spouse's employer, or through a marketplace plan -- you're all set. You'll see the appropriate box to check on your tax return. This is also true if you're enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare or TriCare.
  • You were uninsured for less than three months in 2014. The penalty only kicks in if your uninsured period lasted longer than three months. For example, if you lost employer coverage and then got a new job in which coverage didn't start right away.
  • You had coverage in place by May 1, 2014. Were you late to the game but managed to get coverage that started on or before May 1, 2014? If so, you can claim an exemption for the months you were uninsured before May. But don't count on this exemption again next year.
  • You didn't qualify for Medicaid solely because your state didn't expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  • You're exempt from filing taxes. If your income is low enough that you don't have to file a federal tax return, the penalty doesn't apply to you.
  • You couldn't afford insurance. If the lowest-priced insurance coverage available in your area would cost more than 8 percent of your income, you won't pay a penalty if you don't buy it.
  • You had a hardship. If you experienced a significant disruptive life issue -- such as domestic violence, being evicted from your residence, a fire or flood, or a death in your family -- you may be exempt from the penalty.
  • You were out of the country for most the year. If you weren't physically present in the United States for at least 330 days in a 12-month period, you're not subject to the penalty. Here's more info from the IRS.  
  • You are a member of a federally recognized tribe, are eligible for services through an Indian Health Services provider, or you're part of a recognized religious sect that has a faith-based objection to insurance, social security and Medicare.
  • You were in prison. If you were incarcerated in 2014, you're free from paying a penalty.
  • You're a resident of the United States Territories. The law considers you as already having minimal essential coverage.

For most of these exemptions, you'll need to file IRS Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, with your federal tax return.

Finally, keep in mind that the taxes you're filing are for 2014 so if you purchase a health plan between now and the last day of open enrollment (February 15), it won't save you from the penalty for not having had coverage last year, unless you qualify for any of the 11 exemptions listed above.

About GetInsured
GetInsured is a cloud-based health insurance exchange platform that combines modern technology and customer service capabilities to make health insurance shopping easy and efficient. Since its founding in 2005, GetInsured has helped millions of consumers find the right health plan for their needs and budgets. GetInsured is approved by the federal government to enroll Americans in subsidized health insurance plans, and also provides state governments and employers with SaaS-based technology solutions for public and private health insurance exchanges. For more information, please visit www.GetInsured.com.

About TaxACT
Since 1998, TaxACT has offered affordable digital and download tax preparation solutions for individuals, business owners and tax professionals. In the 2005 tax season, TaxACT became the first to offer free federal filing to all U.S. taxpayers and has been one of the top three visited online tax preparation destinations ever since.1 TaxACT has assisted with more than 50 million e-filed federal returns since 2000. TaxACT is a business of Blucora, Inc. (NASDAQ: BCOR). Learn more about TaxACT at www.taxact.com and www.taxact.com/press.

* According to collective week end reports for taxact.com and taxactonline.com released by Hitwise™.

Contact Information

  • Press Relations:

    Theresa Maloney
    Cogenta Communications for GetInsured
    925-287-1509 o
    415-225-5261 m
    Email Contact

    Jessi Dolmage
    TaxACT Public Relations
    Email Contact
    (319) 373-3600