CMS Announces Special Enrollment Period for Tax Season
Eligible consumers have from March 15 through April 30, 2015 to enroll in coverage
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states like Kansas which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM.
For those who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of the fee for not enrolling in coverage, CMS will provide consumers with an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage from March 15 to April 30. If consumers do not purchase coverage for 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 income taxes.
Those eligible for this special enrollment period live in states like Kansas with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace and:
- Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015,
- Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and
- Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.
The special enrollment period will begin on March 15, 2015 and end on April 30, 2015. If a consumer enrolls in coverage before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the following month.
This year’s tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Individuals who could not afford coverage or met other conditions may be eligible to receive an exemption for 2014. To help consumers who did not have insurance last year determine if they qualify for an exemption, CMS also launched a health coverage tax exemption tool today on HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov.
Americans who do not qualify for an exemption and went without health coverage in 2014 will have to pay a fee – $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater – when they file their taxes this year. The fee increases to $325 per adult or 2% of income for 2015. Individuals taking advantage of this special enrollment period will still owe a fee for the months they were uninsured and did not receive an exemption in 2014 and 2015. This special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015.
Consumers seeking to take advantage of the special enrollment period can find out if they are eligible by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Assistance is available in 150 languages. The call is free.
If consumers have questions about their taxes, need to download forms, or want to learn more about the fee for not having insurance, they can find information and resources at www.HealthCare.gov/Taxes or www.IRS.gov. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Consumers who need assistance filing their taxes can visit IRS.gov/VITA or IRS.gov/freefile
Adapted from CMS Newsroom
Health Insurance Marketplace General Information
Open Enrollment for 2015 ended February 15, 2015.
The 2016 Open Enrollment Period for the Marketplace will start on November 1, 2015 and run through January 31, 2016.
Get help. You can sign up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at HealthCare.gov
You can also sign up in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
You can call 1-800-318-2596, any time, any hour, and a trained representative will help you enroll.
The Health Insurance Marketplace is the website for enrollment in a Qualified Health Plan; it also contains useful education and resource information.
InsureKS.org is a website developed by the Kansas Insurance Department to supplement the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Consumers can use this site to estimate premiums, tax credits and view the plans available in their areas.
Local help with Health Insurance Marketplace Applications
- Paige C. Ashley, Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator, (785) 251-2136, Shawnee County Health Agency, 1615 W. 8th Street, Topeka, KS 66606
- Angie Duncan, Certified Navigator, Valeo Behavioral Health Care Benefit Specialist, 785-783-3124
Local help with Income Tax
Free Income Tax Assistance for low and moderate income individuals in Shawnee County is available beginning January 26, 2015. Download the complete schedule from Shawnee County K-State Research and Extension.
What is the library doing to help?
Library staff are not certified to assist customers in completing the application or enrollment process, but can provide technology assistance in using the library’s public computers and printers.
Please direct questions and feedback on how the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library can improve our community partnerships to provide Shawnee County residents with the information they need to:
Lissa Staley, Health Information Librarian email@example.com
This page updated 3/6/2015