Special enrollment period begins Sunday on Healthcare.gov - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Special enrollment period begins Sunday on Healthcare.gov

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The open enrollment deadline to sign up for health insurance passed in February, but some consumers will get a second chance beginning Sunday. As tax season cranks into full gear, the federal government decided to offer a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) through April 30th.

So who qualifies this time around?

Those eligible for this SEP must:

• Currently not be enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace for 2015 
• Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the penalty fee for not having health insurance in 2014
• Attest that they first became aware of (or understood the implications of) the penalty fee AFTER the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015)

If a consumer enrolls in coverage on or before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective the first day of the following month.

Because this tax season is the first time penalties are being collected, more questions are coming in about exemptions to the fee, according to Terry Tucker at the Health Insurance Store of Louisiana.

“There's people that are under the federal poverty limit that would not have to pay the penalty. (They) can get an exemption, but even those people, I would suggest that they go through the marketplace and they can get an exemption number to file with their taxes,” Tucker said.

A tax exemption tool was just launched at Healthcare.gov to help consumers find out if they qualify.

Tucker said another issue is surfacing with those who've already enrolled: missing documents. Some people are required to submit additional proof of income or citizenship. Tucker urges everyone who signed up to double check their enrollment packets and make sure all paperwork is submitted within sixty days.

“If they don't get that information to the Marketplace, they stand the possibility of losing their subsidy, and therefore they'd have to pay the full price for insurance, which could be a shock to some people,” Tucker explained.

Other special enrollment periods throughout the year offer coverage to people losing group coverage, people getting married or having a baby, small businesses looking to insure employees, and a handful of other scenarios. See the full list here.

108,041 Louisianians signed up for health insurance for the first time during the open enrollment period that ended February 15, according to the U.S. Office of Health and Human Services. Another 78,662 re-enrolled in Marketplace coverage.

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