Sunday, February 15, is the last day you can enroll in the healthcare Marketplace for coverage in 2015.  Without health insurance or an exemption, you will be subject to a penalty when you file your taxes next year.


You should apply, if: 

You’re uninsured.  Especially if you don’t have access to other affordable health insurance options.

You’re paying too much for employer-sponsored health insurance.  If your employer’s plan costs you 9.5% or more of your household income, you may find more affordable options in the Marketplace.  You may also be able to qualify for Obamacare subsidies that will help lower your healthcare costs.

You have a limited benefit plan.  If your plan covers only a handful of healthcare services, then chances are you’re underinsured.  Even a few select limited-benefit plans with big names, such as Medicaid, and TRICARE, may not be enough.  Obamacare requires qualified health plans to include Minimum Essential Coverage.

You think you can’t afford health insurance. The Marketplace is the only source of subsidies that can help cover your insurance costs.  Millions of people have applied and received such assistance.  If you earn too little to qualify for subsidies, the Marketplace will save you time by having you simultaneously apply for Medicaid.

You’re unhappy with your current plan.  Do you think you may have chosen the wrong plan for yourself for 2015?  Even if you’re already enrolled in coverage for 2015, you can still switch policies, but only during open enrollment.


What happens if I don’t enroll? 

Individuals without health insurance or a coverage exemption will pay a penalty next year at tax time. The Obamacare penalty will be the GREATER of these two amounts:

  • 2% of your annual taxable household income, with a cap set at the average lowest-cost bronze plan available through the health insurance Marketplace; OR
  • $325 per person and $162.50 per child under 18, with a cap of $975 per family.


Remember, the enrollment deadline is Sunday.  Liberty Tax published a handy guide to Obamacare, for those who still need to enroll.  If you still need help, you can apply in-person at a participating Liberty Tax office, or call our ACA Hotline at 1-800-673-8600.

-- By Ashley Robeson