FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2015
BALDWIN, Michigan – Do you owe a tax penalty to the Internal Revenue Service for not having had health insurance coverage in 2014? The good news is that you may still have time to enroll for 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and reduce the fine owed next tax season.
Even though the Open Enrollment period for enrolling in health insurance coverage for 2015 has ended, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved a one-time Special Enrollment Period which will close on April 30th for those who meet all of these criteria:
- You owe or have paid a fee for not having health insurance coverage for one or more months in 2014
- You did not know until after Open Enrollment ended on 2/15/15 that the health care law required you and your household to have health insurance coverage, or you didn’t understand how the requirement would affect you and your household
- You are not already enrolled in 2015 health insurance coverage
Those who qualify for this Special Enrollment Period have until April 30, 2015 to enroll in a 2015 health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov) offers two ways to save qualified taxpayers money on their health insurance; both are based on income and household size.
Eligible consumers can receive tax credit to lower the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums. Individuals and families whose gross income is at or below 400% of the federal poverty guidelines for 2015 (which is a gross annual income of $46,680 for a single person and $95,400 for a family of 4) can choose to use these tax credits to lower their monthly health insurance premiums throughout the year. HHS reports that 87% of those who choose a plan from the Marketplace qualify for an advance premium tax credit with an average value of $263 per person per month.
In addition to the savings from premium tax credits, those whose gross annual income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty guidelines for 2015 ($29,175 for a single person and $59,625 for a family of 4) may qualify for cost sharing reductions, which may significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and co-pays.
While taking advantage of this Special Enrollment Period will not excuse someone from owing a personal responsibility fee next year at tax time, it will allow consumers to reduce their tax liability by reducing the number of months they are without health insurance in 2015. Certain exemptions may be available for the months a person has been without minimum essential health insurance coverage.
Family Health Care offers free, certified assistance with understanding, applying for and enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid and Medicare programs to all area residents. Outreach and Enrollment Specialists who are unbiased, knowledgeable and trained to assist with these programs offer flexible appointment times throughout our service area. They can answer your questions or help you sign up for the insurance program that is right for you.
For more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace or this Special Enrollment Period opportunity, go to www.healthcare.gov or call one of the certified Outreach and Enrollment Specialists at Family Health Care:
Baldwin 231-745-0437 Cadillac/McBain 231-876-6583
Grant 231-834-9781 White Cloud 231-689-7676
About Family Health Care:
Family Health Care (FHC), is non-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1967, as one of the first community health centers in the U.S. to develop a “one-stop-multiple services” concept for health care services for all. FHC offers family practice, pediatric, internal medicine, dental, laboratory, x-ray, full service retail pharmacies, therapy, health education, and school-based programs. Centers are located in Baldwin, Cadillac, Grant, McBain and White Cloud. Our team is composed of diverse and passionate individuals who want to make a positive impact in the communities we serve. For more information, visit www.familyhealthcare.org.