If you haven’t signed up for health insurance through the health insurance marketplace, you only have 2 more weeks. One way to apply for coverage is online at www.healthcare.gov, you can apply my mail, over the phone by calling 1-800-318-2596, or a navigator can help you in person.
“There’s a special enrollment for after March 31, which is for people who have qualifying life events. And some of those things may be a loss of job, a birth of a child, a divorce. You can’t sign up for special enrollment just because you don’t pay your premiums from your insurance and lose it that way. That doesn’t count. But if you have lost your insurance due to loss of job, you can,” says Dawn Roberts Lead Navigator at ACAP.
The special enrollment usually lasts 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event. Other events include getting married and permanently moving to an area that offers different health coverage. If you decide not to sign up for health coverage, you will be penalized.
“People think that the penalty is going to be when you do your taxes this year, but it’s when you do your taxes next year for 2014,” says Roberts.
For 2014 the penalty is $95 per adult up to $285 or 1% of household income. Each year the penalty will increase, so for 2015 it will be $395 per adult up to $885 or 2% of household income. If you have children under 18 years old, the penalty is half that of an adult. The penalties will continue to increase after 2016. Roberts says, if you are unsure of anything, talk to a navigator. Don’t forget the deadline for open enrollment is March 31st.