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Feds offering one last shot to get covered

If you missed out on Obamacare last year and now face a tax penalty, the federal government is giving you one last shot to avoid it.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a special enrollment period Friday for people who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee when they file their taxes in April. Officials said the move will help families who were unaware of the requirement that most people buy health insurance.

The penalty for not having insurance will be… 2 percent of your income!

The penalty for not having insurance last year will be $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater. That penalty will rise next year to the greater of $325 per adult or 2 percent of income.

The special enrollment period will run from March 15 through April 30.

“We recognize that this is the first tax filing season where consumers may have to pay a fee or claim an exemption for not having health insurance coverage,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a prepared statement. “Our priority is to make sure consumers understand the new requirement to enroll in health coverage and to provide those who were not aware or did not understand the requirement with an opportunity to enroll in affordable coverage this year.”

To be eligible, applicants must live in a state where the federal government operates the online health exchange. Applicants also must:

  • Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return, they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014.
  • Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of the penalty after the open enrollment period ended on Sunday.

To help people determine eligibility, the government has created an assessment toolon its health care website.

The government estimates that about 75 percent of tax filers this year simply will check a box on their tax returns indicating that they have health insurance.

About 10 percent to 20 percent of tax filers – who were uninsured for all or part of 2014 – will qualify for an exemption, the government estimates. Officials estimate that 2 percent to 4 percent will pay a fee because they made a choice to not obtain coverage and are not eligible for an exemption.

by: Brendan Kirby Source

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