SOURCE: TaxACT, Inc.

TaxACT, Inc.

March 24, 2015 09:57 ET

TaxACT & GetInsured Help Taxpayers Easily Navigate Tax Penalty & Health Insurance Options

Industry Leaders Answer FAQs About Special Enrollment Period for Tax Filers

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA and MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 24, 2015) -  TaxACT®, the leader of affordable digital tax preparation solutions, and GetInsured, a leading online health insurance marketplace, have partnered to answer common questions about the extended healthcare open enrollment window, known as a special enrollment period (SEP). Together, TaxACT and GetInsured offer easy solutions to help taxpayers determine their eligibility for the special enrollment period and understand their insurance options.

"Many Americans who were uninsured in 2014 are getting their first real exposure to the Affordable Care Act when they file their taxes and learn they owe a penalty," said Mark Jaeger, Affordable Care expert at TaxACT. "Thanks to this special enrollment period, these taxpayers can still sign up for health coverage to avoid paying a higher penalty for 2015."

A recent study reported that 44% of Americans who were uninsured in 2014 don't know about or understand the tax penalty for not having health insurance.

When is the special enrollment period?
It began March 15 and closes April 30 for taxpayers living in states supported by the federal marketplace. If you buy coverage by April 30, your insurance may start as soon as June 1.

Who is eligible for the special enrollment period?
You are eligible if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You owe a penalty, also known as an individual shared responsibility payment, for not having health insurance in 2014
  • You didn't know about or understand the new law requiring you and everyone in your household to have health insurance
  • You currently do not have health insurance through the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov

Many states with their own marketplaces have also extended enrollment, including California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Why should I enroll in health insurance?
Uninsured taxpayers will have to pay higher penalties for 2015. The maximum penalty amount for 2014 was the greater amount of 1% of household income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285. For 2015, the maximum amount increases to 2% of household income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, up to $975.

Even if you obtain insurance during the special enrollment period, you may still have to pay a penalty when you file next year's tax return if you were uninsured for three or more consecutive months in 2015. Obtaining health insurance by April 30, however, will minimize your penalty amount.

How do I know if I have to pay the 2014 penalty?
Go to www.TaxACT.com and answer TaxACT Free Federal Edition's easy questions about your health insurance, income and expenses. If you have to pay the individual shared responsibility payment, TaxACT will automatically calculate the amount.

TaxACT will also provide a personalized HealthWatch report with your estimated 2015 penalty and all of your tax return information needed for health insurance applications.

Even if you have complex insurance or tax situations, TaxACT Free Federal Edition has all the guidance and forms to help you file your IRS income tax return easy, fast and free. TaxACT is the only company to offer all e-fileable IRS forms for free.

Can I still get insurance after April 30?
You can only purchase coverage during the annual open enrollment period or if you or someone in your household experience a change in household size, circumstance, or status, such as:

  • Marriage, divorce or legal separation
  • Having a baby or adopting a child
  • Loss of health coverage, e.g. termination from employer-sponsored health insurance
  • U.S. citizenship

These events trigger a special enrollment period that allow to you buy insurance. If you do not experience a qualifying event, you may purchase short-term health insurance to hold you over until the next open enrollment period. Short-term insurance, however, does not preclude you from paying the tax penalty. Enrollment for Medicaid and CHIP is also open year-round.

How do I learn more about my insurance options or apply for coverage?
Visit GetInsured.com to compare plans from top providers. You can also speak directly with one of GetInsured's licensed insurance brokers by calling (855) 675-3413 -- just be sure to mention your tax penalty.

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.* 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 the tax implications of the Affordable Care Act at HealthcareACT.com, powered by TaxACT.

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

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.

Contact Information

  • Contacts
    Jessi Dolmage
    TaxACT Public Relations
    Email Contact
    (319) 531-3626

    Andrea Riggs
    GetInsured, Director, Communications
    Email Contact
    (917) 572-5555