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Suprised by Tax Penalties? – CMS Offers Special Enrollment Period

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Shocked male office workerFor individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the tax penalty when they file 2014 taxes, a special enrollment period (SEP) has been announced.  This SEP has been created for those individuals who were unaware of the tax penalty or failed to fully understand the implications of the penalty for not enrolling in coverage during 2014.  From March 15th to April 30th, CMS is providing consumers with another opportunity to purchase health insurance; however, if consumers do not purchase during this enrollment period, they may have to pay the penalty when they file their 2015 income taxes.

The special enrollment period will begin on March 15, 2015 and will end at midnight Eastern Standard Time on April 30, 2015.  If a consumer enrolls in coverage before the 15th of April, coverage will begin on May 1st and if a consumer enrolls between April 16th and April 30th, coverage will begin on June 1st.

Because this year’s tax season is the first time individuals and families are required to provide information about their health coverage on their tax returns, CMS recognizes that there may be an adjustment period.  Administrator Marilyn Tavenner stated regarding this special enrollment period, “Our priority is to… provide those who were not aware or did not understand the requirement with an opportunity to enroll in affordable health coverage this year.” Further, those who could not afford coverage or met other certain conditions may be eligible to receive an exemption from the tax penalty.

The majority of taxpayers will only be required to indicate on their tax return that they had health coverage in 2014, either through an employer, Medicare, Medicaid, or other health coverage that meets the requirements of minimal essential coverage.  Other taxpayers will be granted an exemption from the tax penalty and still other taxpayers will pay a penalty for choosing to remain uninsured.  Americans who do not qualify for an exemption and who are required to pay the penalty will be paying a fine of $95 per adult or 1% of their income, whichever is greater.  This special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals one final opportunity to get coverage and avoid having to pay other penalties in 2015.

Those eligible for this special enrollment period must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  • Live in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace
  • Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the tax penalty for not having coverage
  • Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Federal Tax Penalty after the end of Open Enrollment

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.  Let us help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama care.

All information contained herein is subject to change, from time to time, if the Federal Government or Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina implement any new updates and/or changes that can impact information provided in this blog.

How Can I get an Exemption from Tax Penalties?

Friday, February 27th, 2015

IRS tax auditor man sitting at desk with business cardAs most Americans know, under the Affordable Care Act you are now required by law to carry qualifying health coverage or pay a tax penalty.  This penalty is sometimes referred to as the “individual shared responsibility payment,” or the “individual mandate.”  In some cases, however, you may qualify for what is called a “health coverage exemption.”

First and foremost, if you are covered by any plan that meets the ACA guidelines of minimum essential coverage , you will not have to pay a tax penalty.  Take a moment and learn what qualifies as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act Law.  Being properly insured is the safest way to avoid any penalties.

If you did not have ACA approved coverage for all or part of 2014, however, you may still qualify for an exemption from the tax penalty.

Below are some examples of potential exemptions that might apply to you:

  • You are uninsured for only 1 or 2 consecutive months of the year.
  • The lowest-priced coverage available to you through either an individual or job-based plan would cost more than 8% of your household income.
  • You do not file a tax return based on the fact that your income is below the level that requires filing.
  • You are a member of a federally recognized tribe.
  • You are a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry.
  • You are a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare
  • You are incarcerated
  • You are not lawfully present in the United States
  • You are a United States citizen living abroad
  • You qualify for a hardship exemption

You can learn how to apply for any of the above exemptions and find the forms you need by visiting the federal Marketplace.

Once again, the easiest and smartest way to ensure you do not incur a tax penalty is to obtain an ACA approved health plan.

For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina health insurance coverage, the Marketplace and healthcare gov  to apply for your subsidy, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.  Let us help you navigate through the Health Care Reform changes in accordance with the new regulations of The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama care.

All information contained herein is subject to change, from time to time, if the Federal Government or Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina implement any new updates and/or changes that can impact information provided in this blog.