33K New Covered California Enrollees Were Unaware of Tax Penalty
On Tuesday, Covered California officials announced that more than 33,000 individuals who signed up for a health plan during the exchange's special enrollment period had been unaware of the penalty for failing to obtain coverage, the Merced Sun-Star reports (Ibarra, Merced Sun-Star, 4/28).
Under the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, U.S. residents who did not have health coverage in 2014 must pay $95 or 1% of their incomes, whichever is higher, as they file their 2014 taxes. The penalties will increase to $325 or 2% of individuals' incomes, whichever is higher, for those who do not have insurance in 2015.
On Feb. 23, Covered California launched a special enrollment period for individuals who were not aware of the tax penalty for remaining uninsured. The special enrollment period ends April 30. Eligible consumers who wish to sign up during the period must indicate on their applications that they were unaware of the tax penalty for foregoing health insurance.
The extension does not exempt individuals from 2014 penalties, but it can help them avoid larger penalties that begin in 2015 (California Healthline, 4/24).
Details of Announcement
According to Covered California, the more than 33,000 consumers who were unaware of the penalty and recently enrolled in coverage were among more than 91,000 individuals who signed up during the special enrollment period (Gan, Riverside Press Enterprise, 4/28).
In a release, Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said, "Many consumers who just finished their taxes learned there is a tax penalty for being uninsured." He added, "It is heartening to see consumers recognize the value in being covered and avoid the risks to their health and pocketbook that come from remaining uninsured" (Covered California release, 4/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.