WATERVILLE — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced a special enrollment period for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes. This enrollment period, March 15-April 30, will allow individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this requirement, to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace, according to a news release from Kennebec Valley Community Action Program.

KVCAP, part of the Community Action Navigator Consortium, is a partner in a statewide network of certified Health Insurance Marketplace Navigators. Navigators can provide free in-person assistance to help people apply for and enroll in coverage through the marketplace. The program is not affiliated with any insurance company so it provides fair and unbiased advice. Navigators can help people access programs that could lower their monthly health premiums and out-of pocket costs and understand the available options. Private information is protected.

Those who think they qualify for a special enrollment period or have questions about the Health Insurance Marketplace, call Cheryl Leonard, Health Services navigator, at KVCAP at 859-1567 or email [email protected].

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, according to the release.

Those eligible for this special enrollment period are Maine residents, and

• currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM 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 (Feb. 15) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.

This year’s tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Individuals who could not afford coverage or met other conditions may be eligible to receive an exemption for 2014. To help consumers who did not have insurance last year determine if they qualify for an exemption, the centers have launched a health coverage tax exemption tool on HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov.

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