Those without insurance could find coverage through federal exchanges through new enrollment period
A special enrollment period will be open for those without health insurance coverage in the United States. The enrollment period is meant for those that have recently discovered that they will be subject to financial penalties for being uninsured. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cited a recent survey that found as many as 40% of uninsured people were unaware of federal penalties for lacking coverage. The special enrollment period could help solve this problem.
Special enrollment period will end on April 30
The new enrollment period will run through April 30, during which time consumers can sign up for coverage with health insurance exchanges. The original open enrollment period ended in February, before most people filed their taxes. Those filing taxes must say whether or not they have health insurance coverage. Those without coverage in 2014 will still be subject to federal penalties, but these penalties are becoming more expensive this year. After 2015, the uninsured will be fined greater sums until they have health insurance coverage.
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Some may be exempt from federal tax penalties
There are some exemptions to the federal penalties. Those covered by programs like Medicare or Medicaid will not be subject to federal penalties. Those that cannot afford health insurance coverage will also be exempt from the tax penalty. People that have a religious objection to insurance coverage will also be able to avoid the tax penalty. For others, however, penalties will be a burden for as long as they do not have health insurance coverage.
Subsidies could help people afford health insurance coverage
After the special enrollment period, federal health insurance exchanges will no longer be available. These exchanges will again offer coverage near the end of this year, when the next open enrollment period begins. Subsidies from the federal government will still be available during the special enrollment period, which will help offset the cost of coverage. These subsidies may be in danger, however, depending on a ruling from the Supreme Court concerning the legality of these subsidies being offered in some states.