SOURCE: GetInsured

GetInsured

February 23, 2015 14:59 ET

Surprised by the Health Insurance Tax Penalty? You May Get an Extra Window to Buy 2015 Health Insurance

Newly Announced Special Enrollment Windows Give Some Consumers More Time to Get Insurance, Even Though the Official February 15 Sign-Up Deadline Has Passed

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Feb 23, 2015) - GetInsured, a leading innovator in consumer health insurance marketplace technology, today announced good news for health insurance procrastinators. Consumers who discover they have to pay a tax penalty for being uninsured last year may have another opportunity to enroll in 2015 coverage. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just announced a special enrollment period (SEP) around tax filing season for those who have to pay the penalty for 2014, who didn't know about the penalty and who reside in any of the 37 states served by healthcare.gov. This new window of opportunity to sign up for coverage runs from March 15, 2015 until April 30, 2015. Similar announcements have recently been made by New York, California, Vermont and Minnesota.

"At least for this year, tax season will bring many Americans a last-minute chance to get enrolled, and this is great news," said Egon Smola, senior vice president and general manager of consumer business at GetInsured. "This doesn't take the sting out of having to pay a penalty for 2014, but it does allow those consumers to get coverage for 2015. Further, any customer who signs up with GetInsured now can count on us to remind them about upcoming deadlines, so they can avoid nasty surprises in the future."

The tax penalty is a result of the "individual mandate" of the Affordable Care Act. It requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. According to a new study from the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, more than four in 10 Americans who may be subject to the penalty heard little or nothing about it. Consumers will pay the penalty when they file their returns for the 2014 tax year. The penalty is $95 per uninsured adult ($47.50 per uninsured child), or 1 percent of household income -- whichever is higher. There is a cap on the 2014 penalty: The most it can be is $2,448 for individuals and $12,240 for a family. The penalty for 2015 will jump to $325 per uninsured adult ($162.50 per uninsured child) or 2 percent of household income, whichever is higher. (The penalties go up again in 2016.)

Details and requirements for the tax season SEPs vary by state. To see a chart with state-by-state specifics, visit the blog on GetInsured.com.

One final, important note: Even if someone signs up for coverage during the new tax season SEP, it's not a guarantee that they won't face a penalty for 2015. Consumers may still owe a partial penalty based on the number of months they were uninsured.

To learn more about their options, consumers should contact GetInsured to speak to a licensed insurance broker and be sure to mention their tax penalty. Consumers can also shop online to compare plans from top carriers at GetInsured.com.

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.

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