March 15, 2015
The Affordable Care Act requires that United State citizens have health insurance. However, for some, this information is coming as a surprise when they files taxes this year AND they're surprised by the penalty they need to pay too.
If you're one of the ones who first learned of this when you were preparing your taxes, then there's a special enrollment period just for you! You can still buy health insurance in the Marketplace until April 30, 2015 for 2015 and avoid the tax penalty you'd otherwise pay next year, if:
- you owed a fee for not having coverage in 2014;
- you didn't know until after Open Enrollment ended on February 15, 2015 that the health care law required you and your household to have health coverage, or you didn't understand how the requirement would impact you and your household
- you aren't already enrolled in 2015 coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace
If all of these apply to you, you can enroll in a 2015 plan between March 15 and April 30, 2015. Go to www.healthcare.gov, to apply for coverage with this Special Enrollment Period.
For those of you who haven't yet filed taxes, be aware that you when you file your taxes, you will be asked if you had health insurance in 2014.
If you didn't have coverage in 2014, you'll pay the HIGHER of these two amounts:
- 1% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
- $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.
And, the penalty will increase next year!
If you don't have coverage in 2015, you'll pay the higher of these two amounts:
- 2% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
- $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.
You'll pay the penalty fee on the federal income tax return you file for the year you don't have coverage.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and your options, go to www.healthcare.gov
Author: Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension, March 15, 2015