Did you miss the February 15 deadline to buy health insurance for 2015? The Department of Health and Human Services announced that you may have one more week to get insured.
If you tried to buy health coverage on the federal marketplace but couldn’t because of long wait times or website glitches, you may qualify for this special enrollment period. If you bought health insurance through the federal marketplace last year, however, you will not be allowed to make any changes to your coverage during this one-week extension.
Try again by going back to HealthCare.gov from now through February 22. You’ll need to attest that you couldn’t enroll by the deadline because of a website or call center problem.
After the deadline, that’s it—you won’t be able to buy individual health insurance for 2015 unless you have you have a “qualifying life event,” like marrying, divorcing, having a baby, moving, or losing your health coverage.
If you live in one of the 13 states with their own exchanges or the District of Columbia, the rules are a little different. Most states have announced extensions of some sort. In some states, you get more time only if you tried to sign up before February 15; in others, everyone has more time. Check acasignups.net for a good round-up of state policies.
Washington state currently offers the longest deadline extension: Residents have until April 17 to enroll. “This is the first year that residents may incur a tax penalty for not having health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” Richard Onizuka, chief executive officer of Washington’s exchange, told the Wall Street Journal. “This special enrollment window will allow these individuals—as well as those who experienced difficulty completing their applications—additional time to get enrolled for 2015 coverage.”
That’s right: If you were uninsured in 2014, you could owe a penalty on your taxes this year. This year, the penalty is either $95 per person in your family (capped at $285), or 1% of your income (capped at the price of the national average premium for a bronze plan), whichever is higher. Go uninsured in 2015 too, and you could owe even more next year.
For more on buying a policy for 2015, check out this full guide to Obamacare open enrollment.