Covered California Launches Special Enrollment Period
Covered California has launched a special enrollment period for consumers who say they were not aware of the tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Young, Sacramento Business Journal, 2/20).
Background on Enrollment, Tax Penalties
The exchange's second open enrollment period ran from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15. As of Feb. 15, more than 354,000 new enrollees had selected a plan.
Just days before the period was set to end, officials announced a five-day deadline extension for individuals who started an application or made an appointment with an enrollment counselor by Feb. 15. The delay gave such consumers until Feb. 20 to finish signing up for coverage (California Healthline, 2/17).
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 (California Healthline, 2/20).
Details of Special Enrollment Period
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said the special enrollment period begins Monday and runs through 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.
Lee said that up to 600,000 Californians could face such penalties. According to KQED's "State of Health," the extension will not exempt individuals from 2014 penalties, but it can help them avoid larger penalties that begin in 2015 (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 2/20).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of Covered California's special enrollment period are provided below.
- "Covered California Extends Application Deadline" (Orr, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 2/20).
- "Covered California Extends Deadline To Buy Health Insurance, Again" (Florido, "KPCC News," KPCC, 2/20).