Now that February has arrived, the annual Open Enrollment period for health insurance has ended. After January 31 of each year, you can’t enroll in, or make changes to, a health insurance plan except in special cases. So, what does that mean for you exactly, if you neglected to make this important decision?
Obviously, you won’t have health insurance for this year. We’re going to cross our fingers for you, and hope that you don’t incur any major medical expenses. But if you qualify for a Special Enrollment period during the year, you could still get healthcare coverage. Keep these qualifying events in mind:
- You get married or divorced
- You add a child to the household, by birth, fostering, or adoption
- You’re a member of a Native tribe
- Your income changes enough to qualify you for Medi-Cal or subsidies to help with the cost of health insurance
- … and several more significant life changes
If you experience a major life change, give us a call. We can help you decide if you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, during which you can make changes to your health insurance plan or enroll in a new one. Just remember to make this call right away; your Special Enrollment Period will be limited to the six months following the event.
You could owe a penalty on your taxes next year. According to the Affordable Care Act, most of us are required to enroll in a healthcare plan. There are exceptions to this rule, but they can be difficult to obtain. If you aren’t covered by a health insurance policy during this calendar year, then next year you could face a penalty on your taxes. The penalty is calculated at either $695 per uninsured person in your household, or 2.5 percent of your total income, whichever is greater. The penalty is capped at $13,100 per household.
It’s important to remember that the penalty only applies if you go more than three months without healthcare coverage during the year. Plus, it is calculated based on the number of months that you are uninsured. So theoretically, if you soon qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and we’ll help you figure out if you can.