The window to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act for this year is quickly closing, and California’s health insurance exchange reminds consumers that most of those who miss the deadline run the risk of penalties when they file their 2015 federal tax return.
Open enrollment ends Feb. 15. Those who do not make the deadline are out of luck – except for those who qualify for a hardship exemption or have a so-called “qualifying event” such as getting married or having a child.
What happens if you don’t sign up?
Most people are required to have health insurance by March 1, or they’ll face a penalty when they file their 2015 taxes.
Penalties are increasing for 2015. If you don’t qualify for an exemption, you’ll pay 2 percent of your household income or $325 per adult ($162.50 per child under 18) up a total of $975, whichever is more
“The tax penalties are part of making sure all Californians understand that healthcare and taxes increasingly are things they need to think about together,” Lee said.
Fines will be pro-rated, and a consumer can be uninsured for up to three months out of a year before the penalties kick in.
As of January 11, 217,000 people had signed up for private insurance for the first time through Covered California since this enrollment period began on Nov. 15, the agency said, adding that another 466,000 enrolled in Medi-Cal during that time.
Those who sign up between Jan. 16-Feb. 15 will get coverage starting March 1.