Update from Covered CA … They’ll Trust You on This.

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The old deadline of February 15, 2015 to enroll was too restrictive. So now, basically, if you pinky swear that you just didn’t know about the IRS penalties for not having a Qualified Health Plan you can sign up as late as April 30th and avoid the penalties. Gosh. What a sincerely caring, generous and forgiving government program we have here. My heart swells with pride…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California is offering a special enrollment opportunity for consumers who did not know or understand there was a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014 or who learned they may face a penalty for 2015.

“For the first time, health care and taxes now are linked arm in arm,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “The law requires everyone to be insured, and if you’re not, you may face a significant financial penalty when you file your taxes this year.”

From Feb. 23 until April 30, 2015, consumers are eligible to apply for health coverage during special enrollment by attesting that they did not realize there was a tax penalty. To attest to this fact, they can select “Informed of Tax Penalty Risk” when filling out an application at CoveredCA.com.

The new tax penalty for being uninsured — known as the “shared responsibility payment” — motivated many consumers to purchase insurance this year during the Nov. 15-Feb. 15 open-enrollment period via Covered California. Unfortunately, many people who are supposed to purchase insurance may be unaware of the penalty and surprised when they go to their tax preparation professional for help.

“We don’t want anyone to feel blindsided by the shared responsibility payment,” Lee said. “That’s why we are establishing this limited-time special-enrollment that builds on the broader availability of coverage for Californians who have a change of circumstance making them eligible outside of open enrollment. If you didn’t realize the tax consequences of not having insurance, you can enroll in a Covered California plan starting on Monday, Feb. 23 until April 30.”

ALSO: The tax penalty aside, Californians who have a life-changing event — for example, having a baby, getting married, losing their health care coverage because they have changed jobs or moving to another area — can qualify for a special-enrollment period through Covered California. They can sign up for coverage as long as they do so within 60 days of the qualifying life event.

For the first time, consumers who are filing their taxes this year may be paying a penalty for not having health insurance. And the penalty for going without insurance in 2015 will go up significantly: Those who can afford insurance but choose not to buy it will be subject to paying $325 per adult in a household or 2 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

What does that mean in real-world terms for people filing their taxes right now? According to the Internal Revenue Service:

A single person earning $40,000 a year will pay a penalty of nearly $300 for being uninsured in 2014.
A family of four earning $70,000 a year will pay nearly $500 for being uninsured in 2014.

Those penalties increase for consumers without insurance this year.

That same individual making $40,000 will see their penalty jump from almost $300 to nearly $600.
That family of four will see its bill jump from nearly $500 to almost $1,000….

**And for full disclosure, yes, I am a certified Covered California Agent.**


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