Friday, December 11, 2015

Get health coverage by Jan. 31 or pay penalty of up to 2.5% of income

The deadline to get health insurance for 2016 and avoid a penalty for not being insured is Jan. 31 and this year, unlike last, there will be no extension, Baylee Pulliam notes for Louisville Business First.

More than 3,000 Kentuckians missed the initial deadline this year but then gained coverage because of the extension, Jill Midkiff, executive director for communications for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told Pulliam. This extension was meant to help those who weren't aware of the penalty for not having health insurance util they started to file their income-tax returns and saw it.

"A special enrollment period around the April 15 tax filing deadline will not be offered this year," Kevin Counihan, CEO of, the federal government health insurance exchange, wrote on The CMS Blog. "If you don’t enroll by then, you could have to wait another year to get coverage and may have to pay the fee when you file your 2016 income taxes.”

The penalty for not having health coverage in 2015 is $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (up to $975 for a family), or 2 percent of their annual household income, whichever is higher.

The penalty for next year is $695 per adult and $347.50 for each child (up to $2,085 per family), or 2.5 percent of annual household income, whichever is higher.

If you're not sure what your penalty could be, there's a calculator tool on the website.

Counihan said that for many the fee is greater than the yearly cost of a plan and that generally, "the higher your income, the higher the fee you will have to pay."

So far, 60,277 Kentuckians have enrolled in subsidized 2016 coverage through Kentucky's exchange, Kynect, and about 30,000 haven't renewed their plans, Midkiff told Pulliam in early December.

For coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, the deadline is Dec. 15.

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