Many uninsured Americans who file their taxes this year will face a nasty surprise—a new penalty from the IRS. The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, created a new requirement that pretty much all US citizens and lawfully present immigrants must obtain health insurance. Those who don’t comply must pay the Obamacare penalty, or try and apply for an exemption.

Tax season runs until April 15. Open enrollment ran from October 15 through February 15. So, what happens if you never knew about Obamacare before open enrollment closed? Will you get stuck paying a penalty two years in a row?! Don’t worry, you may have a second chance. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) just announced a new special enrollment period that may be able to help. Having a special enrollment period means you can still get covered through the Healthcare Marketplace, and prevent another penalty on next year’s tax return.


In order to qualify, all of the following must apply to you:

  • You live in a state that uses the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace,
  • You are not currently enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace,
  • You paid the Obamacare penalty through the tax filing process, and
  • You first learned about the penalty after open enrollment ended on 2/15/15 when completing your 2014 tax return.


When can you sign up?

Those who qualify can apply from March 15 – April 30.


When will my coverage begin?  

  • Customers who select a plan between the 1st and 15th of the month may begin using their benefits on the first day of the following month.
  • Customers who select a plan between the 15th and the last day of the month may begin using their benefits on the first day of the second following month.


Want to sign up?

You can apply online, over the phone, or in person.  Never applied for insurance before? Check out these blogs on How Can I Sign Up For Health Insurance, and Which Obamacare Plan Should I Choose.  For professional advice, stop by a local Liberty Tax® office. You can also call 1-800-673-8600 with questions.


-- By Alice Robeson