“Extension on the Go” podcast by Debbie Johnson. Episode 131: ACA Special Enrollment

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Many people were surprised when they filed their 2014 taxes. If they didn’t have health insurance or an exemption last year, they discovered they owed a penalty.

“For people who paid a penalty, who can attest that they were surprised by the penalty, or that they did not understand the implication of not having health insurance, they can take advantage of a special enrollment period to get health coverage,” said Brenda Procter, associate professor of finance for University of Missouri Extension. “The special enrollment is from March 15 until April 30.”

Graham McCaulley, associate professor of finance for MU Extension, says it’s important to take advantage of this enrollment because the penalty will be higher next year.

You’ll be penalized for every month in 2015 that you go without health coverage.

“You really need to act quickly,” McCaulley said. “If you enroll before April 15, your insurance can start May 1. If you enroll between April 15 and April 30, your insurance will start June 1. The penalty is pro-rated – it’s for every month you go without insurance.”

The health insurance marketplace will help you determine if you qualify for this special enrollment. When you go to healthcare.gov and select “Missouri,” you’ll be asked a series of question to determine if you qualify.

Also, checking out the marketplace could save you money. If you fall within a certain income range you can get tax credits and discounts to help you pay for your insurance, he said.

Despite those who were unaware of the health insurance requirement, the number of uninsured Missourians is dropping.

“When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, about 15 percent of our state’s population was uninsured,” McCaulley said. “Last year, 150,000 people got marketplace plans through open enrollment. This year that number is just under 254,000.”

For more information about MU Extension’s Health Insurance Education Initiative, go to http://extension.missouri.edu/insure.

The Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace can be found at http://healthcare.gov.

Read more http://extension.missouri.edu/news/DisplayStory.aspx?N=2485


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