Tax season is already a pain, and an extra penalty for not having health insurance coverage isn’t going to help. But you may still be in luck even if you missed the deadline to enroll in coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) earlier this year.
There is a special enrollment period open until the end of this month, April 30, 2015. If you weren’t aware of the tax penalty, didn’t know that open enrollment ended on February 15, 2015, or didn’t understand how the requirements would impact you, you can still get coverage. A couple of things to note though—this only applies if you owe the fee for not having coverage for one or more months in 2014, AND if you aren’t already enrolled in 2015 through the marketplace or elsewhere.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that this special enrollment period will be available this year only. In 2016, you won’t have a second chance after the regular open enrollment period ends if you weren’t aware of the requirements. It’s a long way off now, but open enrollment for 2016 begins November 1, 2015 and ends January 31, 2016.
Don’t fit that description but still owe the penalty? You may still be able to qualify for a special enrollment period if you’ve had one of several “life events” recently that may have changed your coverage eligibility, including (among a few others):
- Getting married
- Having a baby
- Adopting or placing a child for adoption
- Losing other coverage
- Moving outside your plan’s coverage area
- Gaining US citizenship
You can apply online or by phone, but you’ll want to go over the requirements on Healthcare.gov first to make sure you have everything you need. This page offers more information on special enrollment periods, and a checklist to help you prepare.