While the general Open Enrollment in the Marketplace ended February 15, the IRS has announced a new Open Enrollment period between March 15 – April 30, 2015. It is only for those who discover that they will be paying a penalty with their 2014 taxes because they do not have health insurance, AND who can claim that they did not understand the consequences of not being insured impacting their taxes. This will not impact their penalties for 2014 if they were uninsured in 2014 for but allow folks to avoid the penalty for their 2015 tax year. See this CMS news release for the full details: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2015-Press-releases-items/2015-02-20.html
Consumers seeking to take advantage of the special enrollment period can find out if they are eligible by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Assistance is available in 150 languages. The call is free.
This year 2014 that penalty is 1% of annual income above the tax filing threshold (or $95, which is GREATER). And next year the penalty goes up to 2%. So, remaining uninsured is not only a financial risk for health reasons, it costs money upfront. Of course, it also makes sense to have good coverage especially since that now has to include preventive care at no upfront cost and no one can be excluded because of health reasons.