On February 20th, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency charged with administering the Affordable Care Act’s federal health insurance exchange, announced a special federal exchange enrollment period for people who are surprised to find when they go to do their 2014 taxes that they have to pay an ACA penalty for failing to have qualified health coverage last year. The special enrollment period runs from March 15 to April 15.
According to CMS, those eligible for the special enrollment period must:
- Live in states with a federally-facilitated marketplace,
- Currently not be enrolled in coverage through the federal exchange for 2015,
- Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and
- Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.
Coverage brought through the special enrollment period before the 15th of the month will be effective the first day of the following month.
Since the federal announcement, a number of states with their own exchanges have implemented a similar policy.