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Consumers who missed the deadline to enroll in a 2014 health insurance plan may qualify for coverage through a Tax Time Special Enrollment Period and avoid paying further penalties for not having coverage in 2015.

If you missed the deadline to sign up for a 2015 health plan in the Missouri Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s not too late to find coverage. A new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is available for consumers who are required to pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2014. This enrollment period began March 15 and ends April 30, 2015.

“Some consumers may not have understood that they were required to enroll in health insurance in 2014 or face a penalty,” said Nancy Kelley, program director for Cover Missouri’s Expanding Coverage Initiative. “By enrolling during the SEP, these individuals can get covered for the remainder of 2015 and avoid paying further fines beyond those months they weren’t covered.”

Consumers can find coverage through the Missouri marketplace during this SEP if they meet all of the following requirements:

  • They’re not currently enrolled in a 2015 Missouri Marketplace plan.
  • They confirm when they file their 2014 tax return that the penalty for being uninsured in 2014 applies to them.
  • They confirm they first learned about the penalty or understood the implications of the penalty after the Marketplace closed on February 15, 2015, when preparing their 2014 taxes.

If consumers did not pay a penalty in 2014 because they had an exemption, they may not be eligible for the tax season SEP. To be eligible for the tax season SEP, consumers must select and enroll in a plan by 10:59 p.m. Central time (11:59 p.m. Eastern time) on April 30, 2015. If consumers enrolled in a plan by March 15, coverage will begin on April 1. However, if consumers enroll in a plan by April 15, coverage will begin May 1, 2015. Enrolling after April 15 means coverage will begin on June 1.

“Our goal right now is making sure Missourians understand their options for finding coverage and avoid paying further penalties for not having coverage in 2015,” Kelley said. “And, that by enrolling during the SEP they can receive the benefits of affordable coverage.”

If eligible for the tax season SEP, consumers must still pay a penalty for being uninsured in 2014. They’ll either pay 1 percent of their yearly income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child (not more than $285 per family) – whichever is the larger amount. They’ll also pay a penalty for the months they were uninsured in 2015 when filing their taxes next year. In 2015, this penalty will be prorated based on either 2 percent of yearly income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child (not more than $975 per family) – whichever is the larger amount.

To find out if they qualify for coverage through the SEP, consumers can visit covermissouri.org to learn more or healthcare.gov to sign up starting March 15.