CMS Announced Special Enrollment Period for Tax Season

On February 20, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health insurance coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states 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. This applies to individuals who are eligible to purchase Aetna and CoventryOne on-exchange health insurance plans.

For those who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of the fee for not enrolling in health insurance coverage, CMS will provide consumers an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage beginning on March 15, 2015 and ending on April 30, 2015.  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.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will provide this Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to eligible consumers who live in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace and:

  1. Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015,
  2. Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and,
  3. 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.

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.

All applications must go through the Marketplace. Enrollments completed during the SEP will have regular coverage effective dates. This means that consumers who enroll between the 1st and 15th days of the month, their coverage starts the first day of the next month. And if they enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month, their coverage starts the first day of the second following month. So if they enroll on March 16, their coverage starts on May 1.

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