Extension Granted to Help Uninsured Avoid Tax Penalty

Congratulations American taxpayers – many of you now have more time to apply for a health insurance plan if you are currently uninsured. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which mange healthcare.gov, have announced an extension to the health insurance enrollment period to help those who were not aware they would be penalized for failing to carry a health policy. For states that utilize healthcare.gov, the special enrollment period will run between March 15 and April 30. In five other states that have also extended the deadline, dates for application vary (listing below).

It is estimated more than 6 million Americans are uninsured, but it appears many may have not known about the health insurance tax penalty until they filed their 2014 income taxes. A recent study by the Urban Institute found that 44% of uninsured Americans have little to no idea a tax penalty for not having health insurance even existed.

To qualify for the special enrollment period, individuals must

  • Not currently be enrolled in a health insurance plan through the federal marketplace or their state exchange
  • Will pay or have paid a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014; and
  • Were confused or just didn’t know about the tax penalty

Healthcare.gov states include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

California: Covered California will allow those who were not aware of the tax penalty a special enrollment period between February 23 and April 30.

Minnesota: MNsure is offering its special open enrollment period between March 1 and April 30.

New York: Just like Minnesota, New York State of Health will hold its special tax extension period from March 1 to April 30.

Vermont: Vermont Health Connect is giving people a LOT of time to enroll. From February 16 to May 31, resident can apply and enroll in a health insurance plan.

Washington: The first state to offer a tax extension deadline, Washington Health Benefit Exchange will hold its special enrollment period February 17 to April 17.

If your state is not listed, they have yet to announce any special plans to extend the deadline and allow those who were not aware of the tax penalty to apply for healthcare coverage. Here are other tips on how to prepare for filing your taxes in the age of Obamacare.



Colleen McGuire

About Colleen McGuire

Colleen McGuire is an independent consultant who has spent most of her career writing about healthcare and the health insurance industry. For fun she blogs, travels and takes a lot of pictures along the way.