If you don’t have your health plan for 2014 yet, get going! The open enrollment period closes at the end of this month. Anyone who doesn’t have a plan by then will have to wait until the next open enrollment period (unless a life change occurs that creates a special enrollment period).
People who miss this deadline may have to pay a penalty tax when they file their income taxes in 2015. The tax for going without insurance in 2014 is calculated one of two ways. You’ll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:
- 1% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax-filing threshold, $10,150 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.
- $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.
Keep in mind that paying the fine does not give you health insurance. You’ll still be responsible for all of your medical costs.
There are situations that may exempt you from the penalty tax. Some are financial and some take hardships into account. If you think you might qualify for an exemption, you will likely need to apply for an exemption. The two exceptions to this include an income level low enough that you don’t have to file a tax return and being out of the country.
If you miss open enrollment for 2014, the next proposed open enrollment period (for coverage starting in 2015) is Nov. 15, 2014, through Jan. 15, 2015. If you don’t have coverage yet, don’t wait! Call your health insurance agent or visit www.healthcare.gov today and check health insurance off your to-do list.