Special enrollment period for health coverage opens

 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that there will be a special enrollment period, or SEP, for Alaskans and their families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and who are subject to a fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes. The SEP will allow Alaskans who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage from March 15 to April 30. 

If consumers do not purchase coverage for 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 income taxes. The fee will be $325 per person or 2 percent of a family’s combined income, whichever is greater.

Alaskans eligible for the SEP have to meet the following qualifications:

• Currently are not enrolled in coverage 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, which was Feb. 15, in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.

Alaskans seeking to take advantage of the special enrollment period can find out if they are eligible by making a free, confidential appointment with a member of the outreach and eligibility team at SVT Health & Wellness, 226-2228.