Affordable Care Act enrollment extended for penalty cases
By Karen Krolak
For most individuals, the open enrollment period for procuring health insurance for 2015 has ended. Sally Stroud of Roemer Insurance, Inc. informs that the only persons who still have the right to apply for a health insurance policy are those that qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (have lost coverage in the last 60 days, i.e., lost employer coverage, got married or divorced, had or adopted a baby, moved from another state, etc.) or discovered they owe the penalty for not having a health care policy, typically revealed while preparing their tax information this year.
Sally states, “People that found out that they owe the penalty for not having health insurance will be able to apply starting March 15 through April 30,” to avoid the penalty charges for next year, which will increase from the current $95 to $325, or one percent of an individual’s income in 2014 to two percent in 2015.
Some clients facing the penalty were unaware that the health insurance policies would become mandatory. For others, facing a $500 per month premium for health care, the cost of a policy was prohibitive on a limited income and they neglected to obtain coverage.
The mandatory health insurance policy has affected small businesses in varying ways. According to Sally and the clients she works with, most of the smaller companies are still continuing their group policies; however, she states, “a few, the very small ones, have found out that it is maybe to their employees’ advantage to go and shop for their own insurance coverage, especially if they are low income and qualify for a tax subsidy.” Some employers may even be offering a reimbursement or a small raise to help cover the cost of increasing premiums.
Sally’s role at Roemer Insurance, Inc. is handling individual policy sales, whether a client is under age 65 or for Medicare Supplements and Advantage plans for those over 65, and welcomes any questions regarding coverage and the penalty enrollment period.