Maryland (and Kentucky) join the #ACATaxTime Bandwagon
MARYLAND HEALTH CONNECTION ADDING ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR MARYLANDERS UNAWARE THEY WOULD OWE TAX PENALTY WITHOUT COVERAGE
Special Enrollment Period will run March 15 through April 30
BALTIMORE (Feb. 25, 2015) — Maryland Health Connection is allowing consumers who owe a tax penalty for not having health coverage in 2014 to still enroll for 2015 coverage through a special enrollment period that will run March 15 through April 30.
Consumers who owe or have paid a tax penalty for not having coverage in 2014 would pay a higher penalty for this year if they also did not enroll for 2015. The open enrollment period to buy a Qualified Health Plan for 2015 ended Feb. 15.
The special enrollment period is for Marylanders who must pay the penalty for lacking health insurance in 2014 and who attest that they became aware of the penalty during this income tax filing season after the Feb. 15 close of open enrollment for 2015 coverage.
The Federally Facilitated Marketplace, which operates in 37 states through HealthCare.gov, has announced a special enrollment period for a similar purpose from March 15 to April 30. Several states that operate their own health insurance marketplaces like Maryland have already announced similar special enrollments.
“This year’s tax season is the first time that consumers will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their federal tax returns. Because this requirement is new, we realize that some Marylanders are unaware that they may face a tax penalty for choosing to forgo health insurance,” said Carolyn Quattrocki, executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “We want to give these consumers, who become aware of the consequences when they prepare their returns, the opportunity to enroll in quality, affordable health coverage instead of paying the penalty for the remainder of 2015. We appreciate that the insurance companies, brokers and connector organizations who help people sign up for coverage have agreed to support a special enrollment period for this purpose.”
Some important things to note:
During the special enrollment period, if a consumer enrolls in a private Qualified Health Plan from March 15 to March 18, coverage would take effect April 1. If they enroll from March 19 to April 18, coverage would take effect May 1. And if they enroll from April 19 to April 30, coverage would begin June 1. All plans run through Dec. 31.
Individuals who enroll for 2015 coverage that begins May 1 or June 1 would still owe a fee for the months they were uninsured and did not receive an exemption. The special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015.
Also, while I'm at it, Kentucky (kynect) announced their own #ACATaxTime enrollment period the other day as well:
While the second open enrollment period was a tremendous success on several levels, many Kentuckians did not realize those who do not obtain health coverage could face penalties when they file their taxes. And given that the personal risks of not having health coverage are even greater than the penalties, we have decided to continue a special enrollment period to allow those individuals more time to sign up.
The special enrollment period will begin March 2 and continue through April 30 to give those Kentuckians without health coverage a chance to sign up with kynect and avoid any possible tax penalties for 2015.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) penalty for not obtaining health coverage for the 2014 calendar year is $95 for each household member or one percent of income, whichever is greater. That penalty will increase in 2015 to $325 for each adult household member and $162.50 for each child or two percent of income, whichever is greater.
Individuals taking advantage of this special enrollment period will still owe a fee for any months they were uninsured and did not qualify for an exemption in 2014 and 2015. This special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015.