Obamacare Deadline is March 31st - What You Need to Know

Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:56:36PM | Categories: Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) & Health Insurance Industry

President Obama reacting to the House of Representatives passing the Affordable Care ActBy: Pete Souza
The deadline to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is fast approaching. For those of you who have not signed up for coverage yet, there are some very important things that you will need to know going forward.

Let's start with the most important update. If you do not sign up for coverage by the end of the day on March 31, you may have some wiggle room to sign up. The Obama Administration announced that individuals who have begun the application process but have encountered some difficulty will be able to request extra time to complete the process. These individuals will have to prove they began their application process and encountered a problem before completing it to be eligible for this extension. It is also important to understand that this extension is only applicable for the Federally Run exchanges. Those who live in states with State Run exchanges may not get the same break.

There are also a variety of exemptions for individuals who can not afford to sign up. If you are an individual who falls into the "Medicaid Gap" due to your state refusing to extend Medicaid, you will not be required to pay any tax for lack of coverage. Some other exemptions include the homeless, recently evicted or are facing foreclosure, and victims of a recent natural disaster. You will also be exempt if you already are experiencing trouble because you have medical bills you can't afford to pay. The last exemption is if you had a recent death in your family.

You will also qualify for an automatic exemption if:

You’re uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income
You don’t have to file a tax return because your income is too low (Learn about the filing limit.)
You’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or eligible for services through an Indian Health Services provider
You’re a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry
You’re a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare
You’re incarcerated, and not awaiting the disposition of charges against you
You’re not lawfully present in the U.S.

You will also qualify for a hardship exemption if:

You received a shut-off notice from a utility company.
You recently experienced domestic violence.
You recently experienced the death of a close family member.
You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property.
You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.
You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. In this case, you do not have the pay the penalty for the child.
As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible for enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, lower costs on your monthly premiums, or cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace.
Your individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other Marketplace plans are unaffordable.

Source: Healthcare.gov/exemptions

If you feel that you qualify for any of these exemptions then you will need to inform the Goverent which exemption you fall under when you file your 2015 Federal Tax return. You may also apply for an exemption on Healthcare.gov.

If you do not fall under any of these categories and still decide to not obtain coverage, then you will have to pay a tax of $95 or 1 percent of your modified adjusted household income. The penalties rise to 2 percent of income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child in 2015 and to 2.5 percent or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child in 2016 onward. You can find out your penalty using the online calculator at the Tax Policy Center's website.
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