According to the Obama Administration, people have until April to sign up for HealthCare.gov plans in order to avoid penalties but the Administration added that 800,000 customers were sent wrong tax information specific to 2014 coverage.
This has already been a difficult year for the health law and this announcement does not make things better. As far as the April extension, the goal is to increase the number of enrollments specifically for people who could face tax penalties for a two-year period.
While the numbers for the Affordable Care Act are relatively strong this year, that news was overshadowed by the announcement made by federal officials regarding incorrect tax information being sent out.
Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medical Services confirmed both the extension for signing up and the mistakes of wrong tax information that affects approximately 20% of statements sent out by HealthCare.gov.
The purpose of the statements was to determine if people had or had not signed up for coverage last year but many people were provided with incorrect tax credit information for offsetting premiums.
Federal officials stated that the people who received incorrect statements are being notified although roughly 50,000 had already filed taxes. For those who have not yet filed, officials are advising them to wait until correct statements are provided.
In addition, for the people whose tax credit was too large, reimbursement to the government is required while those with a low tax credit will have the opportunity to claim a refund. In a statement from an official with the Treasury Department, reviews of the 50,000 people who already filed is being done to determine what needs to be done.
In the meantime, the extended enrollment period for people not aware of potential tax penalties for being without insurance, follows months of serious pressure from Democrats in the Senate, tax preparers, and academics who want to provide these people with a chance to secure coverage simultaneously with filing taxes.
For people who did not have insurance in 2014, fines beginning at $95, which equates to 1% of income, or whichever is the highest number, will be accessed as part of this year’s tax filing time. However, in 2015 fines could increase to $325 or 2% of income. However, there are literally millions of people who qualify for one exemption or another.
By penalizing people who were uninsured in 2014 and continue to have no insurance will have until the end of April to visit the HealthCare.gov website as early as March 15, this according to Slavitt. Also, with the changes just announced last Friday, a partial penalty will still have to be paid for the period of being uninsured in 2015.