Covered California, the state’s health benefit exchange, has issued an extension – or a “special enrollment period”— for California residents who did not sign up for health insurance in February before this year’s tax deadline.
Under the Affordable Care Act, uncovered persons may be subject to a tax penalty, which is $325 per uncovered person or 2% of their income, whichever is greater. (For uncovered children, the tax penalty is $165 per child.) However, by enrolling in the California Coverage plan, California residents can save up to several hundred dollars per year, and thus mitigate their tax penalties, by receiving advanced premium tax credit from the IRS every month to help lower their health insurance.
According to Deputy Director of Communications and Public Relations, Dana Howard, all tax credits are income-based, meaning that those with a lower income may qualify for more tax credits under the new plan. California residents with very low incomes, such as under $17,000 per year, may also meet the requirements for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal benefits. Under the plan, applicants will be eligible for insurance with name-brand companies such as Anthem, Blue Shield, and Kaiser.
Those interested in enrolling in the new program should visit www.coverageca.com before the April 30 deadline. From the website, visitors can click on the “Get Help Find Answers” tab, where they will be given the option to enter their zip code to find local health agencies offering assistance with the process. There is no cost to enroll. Those interested in enrolling without the help of a certified enroller or insurance agent can do so using the coveredca.com website, but must check the box that says, “Just found out about tax penalty.”
April 30, 2015 will be the final deadline to sign up. Late applications will only be accepted by applicants who have experienced some life-changing event (ie: marriage, moving into a new home, having a child, etc.) after the regular February 15 open enrollment deadline.
More information can be found at www.coverageca.com, or by calling 1 (800) 300-1506.