Another Chance for Taxpayers to Avoid Penalties in Health Care Enrollment
Special enrollment period began March 15 and ends April 30 for qualifying taxpayers
H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, advises taxpayers without health insurance that they may have one more chance to enroll in health insurance and avoid growing tax penalties for 2015. Taxpayers who paid a penalty for being without insurance in 2014 and did not know they faced a penalty until after open enrollment ended on February 15, 2015 may qualify for a special health care enrollment period March 15 through April 30, 2015.
If they qualify for special enrollment based on the federal or state Marketplace’s standards, taxpayers may use H&R Block’s nationwide health insurance enrollment services through its partnership with GoHealth. H&R Block’s enrollment services, free of charge, help consumers understand their options, apply for the Advance Premium Tax Credit and select and enroll in health insurance coverage. Consumers can call a Licensed Health Care Advisor or visit a website to find plans and enroll.
“The special enrollment period will give qualifying taxpayers a chance to enroll in health insurance and avoid steeper penalties next tax season,” said Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of health care and tax services at H&R Block. “Considering the average penalty paid so far this season is $172 and that penalties will double next year, this is an important opportunity for taxpayers and one we can help them navigate.”
Penalties increase for 2015
Tax penalties will increase from 1 percent to 2 percent of household income above the filing threshold or from $95 to $325 per person, whichever is greater. H&R Block has previously reported that the average penalty is $172, among other Affordable Care Act trends.
For example, a family of four earning $60,000 annually would face a penalty next tax season of almost $1,000 for not having coverage in 2015. For 2014, the penalty for the same family would have only been about $400.
Qualifications for special enrollment period
Taxpayers have until April 30 to enroll in health insurance on the federal Marketplace if they:
- Paid a penalty for being without insurance in 2014;
- Did not know about the penalty and its implications until after open enrollment ended February 15;
- First became aware that they owed a fee in connection with the tax filing process;
- Are not enrolled in health insurance coverage for 2015; and
- Live in a state that uses the federal Marketplace.
Taxpayers who live in a state that has its own Marketplace should check with their state-based Marketplace on any special enrollment periods it may offer.
To enroll in health insurance
To enroll, individuals do not need to be current or previous H&R Block clients and do not need to provide tax information. To find out if they may be eligible for the Advance Premium Tax Credit, view health plan options and enroll, consumers can visit https://healthcare.hrblock.com, operated by GoHealth, or call 800-HRBLOCK, to be connected to a Licensed Health Care Advisor.
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider. More than 650 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2014, H&R Block had annual revenues over $3.0 billion with 24.2 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom at http://newsroom.hrblock.com/.
GoHealth is a Chicago-based company that powers GoHealthInsurance.com, a private health insurance marketplace that has helped more than 30 million consumers shop for coverage. With world-class technology and a team of licensed insurance advisors, GoHealth helps individuals and families obtain the right health insurance coverage. Working with 300 health insurance companies, GoHealth enables consumers to easily compare and shop for a variety of brand-name health plans. GoHealth provides plan recommendations and enrollment support by phone and online at no cost to consumers. In 2013, the GoHealth Marketplace became the first private exchange to enroll consumers in subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to powering a private marketplace, GoHealth licenses technology solutions and provides business process outsourcing services related to individual health insurance. GoHealth was founded in 2001. For more information visit GoHealth.com, follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GoHealthDotCom and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gohealthinsurance.
Open enrollment for health insurance starts November 1.Taxpayers can avoid tax penalties in 2019 by obtaining health insurance for 2018.