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Metro Brief: Special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act health coverage if 2014 tax penalty is owed

Prince George's County

On March 30, 2015

The special enrollment will give some a chance to avoid mandatory penalties.

A special enrollment period is open now through April 30 for Maryland residents who owe a tax penalty for not having health coverage in 2014 or were not aware that coverage was required in 2014 and want to obtain health insurance coverage for calendar year 2015.

Residents who enroll from March 19 to April 19 may still owe a tax penalty for the months in 2015 when they did not have health insurance coverage. However, the current special enrollment period is an opportunity to get coverage for the remainder of the year and avoid additional penalty costs.

Residents applying for the special enrollment period must attest that they owe the penalty for lacking health insurance in 2014 or that they became aware of the penalty during the 2014 income tax filing season.

Eligible residents who enrolled in a private qualified health plan (i.e., private health insurance) by March 18, will have coverage that begins April 1. They may not be subject to a penalty during 2015. However, this will be confirmed during the 2015 income tax filing season in 2016.

Individuals who enroll from March 19 to April 18 will have coverage that begins May 1. They may have to pay a modified annual penalty. Individuals who enroll from April 19 to April 30 will have coverage that begins June 1. All plans provide coverage through December 31, 2015.

The tax penalty for individuals who did not have health coverage during 2014 is one percent (1 percent) of gross household income imposed over the federal income tax filing threshold, or $95 per individual – whichever is greater. For 2015, the penalty increases to two percent (2 percent) of gross household income over the federal income tax filing threshold, or $325 per individual –whichever is greater.

Residents who are eligible for Medicaid are not affected and can apply for Medicaid at any time, as enrollment is year-round. Residents who are eligible for Medicaid may have coverage starting immediately.

Find out where to get in-person sign up help at www.capitalhealthconnection.org/sign-up-locations or call 240.773.8250.

More than 100,000 residents in the Capital region (Montgomery and Prince George’s counties) have enrolled in health coverage through Maryland’s health insurance exchange, the Maryland Health Connection. That includes individuals who enrolled in qualified health plans and Medicaid.

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