H&R Block Requests Alignment of Open Enrollment with Tax Season
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made health care a tax issue, not all taxpayers are aware of the impact the ACA could have on their tax return. A recent survey by The Tax Institute at H&R Block shows that 19 percent of taxpayers are not familiar with the penalty for being without insurance. They may learn about the penalty for the first time when they file their taxes this year. However, if a taxpayer files their tax return after February 15, when open enrollment on the Marketplace ends, they will not have an opportunity to enroll in health insurance for 2015 and will be subject to increased penalties on their 2015 tax return.
Aligning open enrollment with the tax season could alleviate consumer frustration and increase awareness, enrollment and affordability. Therefore, in a July 2014 letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, H&R Block recommended open enrollment extend through April 30 for 2015. In another letter in December 2014, H&R Block recommended open enrollment align with tax season in 2016, or at least make the tax filing event a qualifying event to trigger a special enrollment period.