Special enrollment period now open to get health insurance

MARQUETTE – Up to six million Americans are expected to pay a tax penalty this year for not having health insurance coverage in 2014. To help families avoid future penalties, a special enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace is open until April 30.

This special enrollment period is an additional time outside of open enrollment during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. This will be your last chance this year to receive health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and avoid a tax penalty for next year.

Surveys have shown that nearly half of uninsured adults are unaware of the penalty associated with not having health coverage. In 2014, the penalty for not having the required minimum level of health coverage was up to $95 per uninsured person or one percent of a household’s income.

For 2015, this amount will more than double, with the penalty per uninsured person reaching $325 or 2 percent of a household’s income.

There are exemptions available to those who cannot afford coverage or who have experienced hardship. Consult Healthcare.gov or a Certified Application Counselor at UP Health System Marquette, UPHS Bell, or UPHS Portage to see if you qualify for an exemption.

The special enrollment period is designed for the following:

-Those who don’t currently have health coverage for 2015;

-Those who paid a penalty as part of their 2014 federal income tax returns for not having health insurance in 2014; and

-Those who became aware of the individual mandate penalty after the regular 2015 enrollment window closed.

U.P. Health system hospitals at three U.P. locations can help people learn more about the special enrollment period,

Certified Application Counselors (CACs) are onsite to support people in the application process. The locations include UPHS Marquette; UPHS Bell in Ishpeming; and UPHS Portage in Hancock.