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NY offers special health insurance enrollment to avoid tax penalty for 2015

This is the homepage for the New York

This is the homepage for the New York State of Health insurance marketplace. Photo Credit: New York State of Health

Uninsured New Yorkers who must pay a federal tax penalty for 2014 for not having health insurance can sign up for insurance during a special enrollment period to avoid a penalty for this year, the state announced Saturday.

The special enrollment period will start March 1 and end at 11:59 p.m. April 30, the NY State of Health said.

This year's enrollment ended Feb. 15, although the state extended the deadline to Feb. 28 for those who started the application but could not finish it by the 15th.

"Many New Yorkers filing their federal income taxes are just learning that they face a federal tax penalty for not enrolling themselves and their families in health coverage last year," said Donna Frescatore, executive director of NY State of Health, New York's health insurance marketplace. "We want to help New Yorkers by providing a time-limited opportunity to enroll in affordable, quality health insurance."

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week a similar special enrollment period -- from March 15 to April 30 -- for those without health coverage in 2014 in the 37 states using the federal exchange.

The federal tax penalty for those who did not get any insurance last year is 1 percent of 2014 income or $95 per adult, whichever is higher. In 2015 it rises to $325 per adult or 2 percent of household income, whichever is higher.

To qualify for the special enrollment, the uninsured person must attest that when he filed his 2014 federal tax return, he paid a penalty for no health insurance -- which is when he first understood the implications of not having health insurance, the state said.

Federal officials said the government sent the wrong tax information to about 800,000 HealthCare.gov customers, according to The Associated Press. The problem involves a new government form called a 1095-A for people who got subsidized private coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

NY State of Health said it has had no similar problems, although on "a case by case basis, some enrollees may need to request corrected information if changes occurred during the year and were not reported."

For specific questions about 1095-A forms, call 855-766-7860. The state also has a video on Form 1095-A online at: on.ny.gov/1B1KcAt

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