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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Owe an Obamacare Individual Mandate Fee? Last Chance to Get Coverage

Open enrollment for individual health insurance coverage in 2015 is over… or is it?

If you owe an Obamacare Individual Mandate fee on your taxes for not having health coverage in 2014, and you don’t yet have health coverage for 2015, you may still be able to get coverage for 2015. This is according to a recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Here is what you need to know about the new special enrollment period, extended through April 30, 2015. Owe an Obamacare Individual Mandate Fee? Last Chance to Get Coverage

“Last Chance” to Get Health Insurance Coverage for 2015

According to HHS, you can still enroll in individual health insurance coverage this year, if you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • You didn’t know that the health care law required you and your household to have health coverage until after February 15, 2015, or you didn’t understand how that requirement would affect you or your family, and

  • You owe the fee for not having coverage in 2014, and

  • You aren’t already enrolled in 2015 qualifying health coverage.

If all of these apply to you, you’re eligible for a special enrollment period that allows you to enroll in a 2015 plan.

What if I Miss the Enrollment Period?

If you miss this enrollment opportunity, it's likely you've missed your chance to buy coverage for the year -- unless you have a significant change in circumstance called a qualifying life event. There are several types of qualifying life events such as marriage, birth of a child, income change, loss of job-based health insurance, permanent move to a new area, etc.

If you miss the deadline, this also means you'll probably face a penalty for not having insurance (called the Individual Mandate fee).

In 2015, the fee is $325 per person up to a maximum of three times that amount for a family ($975), or 2% of household income if greater. In 2016, the fee increases to 2.5% of your income or $695 per person.

Conclusion

Even though open enrollment 2015 has officially come to an end, a special enrollment period is available to those who owe an Obamacare Individual Mandate fee for 2014 and meet other criteria. The special enrollment opportunity runs through April 30, 2015.

What questions do you have about the Obamacare Individual Mandate and applying for health insurance coverage for 2015? Leave a comment. We'll help answer them.