Amid Tax Season, Feds Give Extra Plan Enrollment Time

Feb 20, 2015

The deadline to buy health insurance coverage for 2015 has come and gone. But some people without insurance are just finding out now that they have to pay a tax penalty, and they're getting another chance to sign up.

Federal health officials announced Friday morning that they’re offering a new, special open enrollment period for consumers who are preparing their 2014 taxes now and figuring out that they owe a tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

This extra time will be for consumers to buy coverage for 2015, and avoid paying a penalty when they file their 2015 taxes.

This special open enrollment period won't help consumers who owe a penalty for 2014 (1 percent of your income or $95, whichever is greater), but does give them extra time to get coverage and avoid a penalty in 2015. That's when the penalty for not having a health plan under Obamacare increases to $325, or 2 percent of the consumer’s income, whichever is greater.

The special enrollment period for 2015 health plans will run from March 15 through April 30 and is only for states that use the federal marketplace at HealthCare.gov.

Here are the people who are eligible for the special open enrollment period, according to the Centers for Medicare &  Medicaid Services:

  • Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015,
  • Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and
  • Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (Feb. 15 , 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.