Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: March 13, 2015
NEW CASTLE (March 13, 2015) - Eligible Delawareans have from March 15 until April 30 to sign up for health coverage under a special enrollment period established by the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The 47-day window is open to individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014, who owe a penalty when they file their 2014 taxes, and who first became aware of or understood the penalty after the end of open enrollment on Feb.15 while preparing their 2014 taxes. They cannot already be enrolled in coverage through the federal Marketplace for 2015.
If eligible consumers do not purchase coverage by April 30, they may have to pay another penalty when they file their 2015 income taxes next year.
Individuals who take advantage of the special enrollment period will still owe a penalty for the months they were uninsured and did not receive an exemption in 2014 and 2015. The special enrollment period is designed to allow them to get covered for the rest of the year and avoid additional penalties.
Delawareans who are not exempt from having health insurance and who went without coverage in 2014 must pay $95 per adult or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater, when they file their taxes this year. The penalty for going uninsured in 2015 increases to $325 per adult or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.
If consumers qualify for the special enrollment period and enroll on March 15, their coverage will begin April 1. If they enroll between March 16 and April 15, their coverage will begin May 1. If they enroll between April 16 and April 30, their coverage will begin June 1.
"This limited special enrollment period is a great opportunity for eligible Delawareans to enjoy the many benefits of having health coverage and to avoid additional penalties for going uninsured in 2015," said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the state's Department of Health and Social Services. "I urge those who qualify to check out their options for coverage that fits their needs and their budget."
Landgraf reminded consumers that if they go uninsured, they not only face the penalty but are responsible for 100 percent of their health-care expenses.
Consumers can sign up during the special enrollment period by contacting HealthCare.gov or the federal call center at 1 (800) 318-2596 starting March 15. Free help from local enrollment specialists is available at ChooseHealthDE.com.
Do you qualify for an exemption?
Individuals who could not afford coverage or who met other conditions might be eligible for an exemption from having coverage for 2014. The federal Marketplace's health coverage tax exemption tool on HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov can help consumers determine if they qualify for an exemption. From 10 percent to 20 percent of taxpayers who were uninsured for all or part of 2014 are expected to qualify for an exemption.
About three-quarters of taxpayers will need only to check a box when they file their taxes to indicate that they had health coverage in 2014 through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans care or other qualified health coverage.
More information is available at HealthCare.gov/Taxes or IRS.gov/aca. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. Consumers who need help filing their taxes can visit IRS.gov/VITA or IRS.gov/freefile.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.