Kynect Special Enrollment Period Scheduled; Will Help Kentuckians Avoid Tax Penalties
More than 158,000 signed up for health coverage during open enrollment
Governor Steve Beshear today announced that a special enrollment period will begin March 2 and continue through April 30 to give those Kentuckians unaware of possible tax penalties more time to sign up.
“We had a tremendously successful second open enrollment period, with many new individuals signing up or continuing their health coverage through kynect,” said Gov. Beshear. “However, we believe that many Kentuckians did not realize those who do not obtain health coverage could face significant penalties when they file their taxes. And given that the personal risks of not having health coverage are even greater than the penalties, we have decided to continue a special enrollment period to allow those individuals more time to sign up.”
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) penalty for not obtaining health coverage for the 2014 calendar year is $95 for each household member or one percent of income, whichever is greater. That penalty will increase in 2015 to $325 for each household member or two percent of income, whichever is greater.
Individuals taking advantage of this special enrollment period will still owe a fee for any months they were uninsured and did not qualify for an exemption in 2014 and 2015. This special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015.
kynect offers an array of options for Kentuckians – whether they qualify for Medicaid or enroll in one of the many qualified health plans offered on the exchange. Medicaid-eligible individuals whose income falls between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) will still have to pay a penalty if they do not sign up, and they can enroll at any time. For many Kentuckians, subsidies may make the cost of health coverage less than the potential tax penalties. For example:
- In 2015, a 30-year-old in Lexington making $20,000 would qualify for a subsidy and pay $37.44 for a full year of bronze coverage or pay a $400 penalty and remain uninsured.
- In 2015, a 25-year-old in Louisville making $40,000 would qualify for a subsidy and pay $604.08 for a full year of bronze coverage or pay an $800 penalty and remain uninsured.
As of Feb. 20, 158,685 individuals have enrolled in health care coverage through kynect for 2015. This number includes 102,830 Kentuckians who have either newly enrolled in a qualified health plan since Nov. 15, 2014, or renewed the private insurance plan they purchased through kynect last year.
“Individuals who made a good faith effort to complete their enrollment with kynect prior to the Feb. 15, 2015, deadline but were unable to do so due to technical difficulties with the application process or problems reaching the call center do not need to worry. kynect staff will be available to help them complete their application through Feb. 28, 2015, so they can make sure they have the coverage they need this year,” said Carrie Banahan, executive director of kynect. “And our support system will be available when the new enrollment period launches to assist individuals with obtaining coverage.”