Those who have laid the ground work to file their tax return and discovered that they face a penalty for not having health insurance in 2014 might just qualify for a special enrollment period to obtain coverage for 2015 according to Sharon Martin, marketing director for Helena Regional Medical Center.

Those who have laid the ground work to file their tax return and discovered that they face a penalty for not having health insurance in 2014 might just qualify for a special enrollment period to obtain coverage for 2015 according to Sharon Martin, marketing director for Helena Regional Medical Center.

Martin reports that the government will open a special enrollment from March 15 to April 30. Those who obtain coverage for 2015 before April 30 might be able to avoid paying a tax penalty in 2015. They also will have health insurance coverage to protect their family in case of illness or serious injury.

And as with the recent open enrollment period, Helena Regional Medical Center can help says Martin.

The special enrollment period is being extended to those who were not aware of, or didn’t understand the implications of the tax penalty for not having health insurance coverage. This special enrollment period, says Martin, will provide an extended opportunity to buy health insurance for 2015.

Martin adds that to qualify, an uninsured individual must meet the following requirements:

•The uninsured individual must state they had to pay a penalty for not having coverage for the 2014 tax year.

•The uninsured individual cannot be currently enrolled in a plan on HealthCare.gov.

•The uninsured individual only found out they were going to have to pay a tax penalty when they were preparing their 2014 tax return.

Those failing to qualify for an exemption and did not have health coverage during 2014 must pay a tax penalty of $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater when they file their 2014 taxes. Uninsured taxpayers who do not take advantage of this special enrollment period says Martin will have to pay a tax penalty when they file their 2015 taxes.

Martin stressed that the penalty will increase to $325 per adult or 2 percent of the income for the 2015 tax season.

“The good news is based on household income and dependents, some individuals may qualify for financial assistance from the government – or subsidies – towards the cost of the premium and other financial obligations like co-pays and deductibles,” explained Martin.

HRMC application counselors are ready to help those who remain uninsured in Helena-West Helena and Phillips County.

“We can help individuals and their families evaluate the available health plans and determine whether or not they’re eligible for Medicaid or other options,” commented Martin. “Let us help take the frustration out of the enrollment process. Call HRMC at 870-816-3655 before April 30 to avoid the tax penalty in 2015.”