Benefits

Did you miss the Open Enrollment deadline?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that, for some, the Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment deadline is extended to February 22, 2015.

Coverage will have a March 1, 2015, effective date.

The extension is in response to technical issues enrollers may have experienced as well as extended call wait times on February 15 and the days leading up the deadline.

CMS conditions for an enrollment extension:

Could cupid be found in a copay?

Rather than a box of chocolates, consider giving your loved one health insurance this Valentine’s Day.

If those you love are uninsured, their long-term health could be in jeopardy.

Without insurance, you're less likely to receive preventive care and more likely to suffer poor health outcomes, quality-of-life limitations, and premature death.

If your income is less than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, you could receive assistance to help pay the insurance cost.

Will you escape the individual mandate penalty?

On your tax return this year, Uncle Sam will ask if you had minimum essential health insurance coverage in 2014.

If not, you’ll pay a penalty with your tax return, unless you qualify for one of multiple exemptions allowed by the IRS.

The moment of truth appears on Line 61 of the Form 1040. If you had qualifying coverage for every month of 2014, you can check the “full-year coverage” box.

Otherwise, you’ll need to complete Form 8965 and identify the exemption you qualify for, or calculate the penalty for not having coverage and enter it on Line 61.

December 15 is only the first deadline

If you haven’t selected a new individual health insurance policy yet, don’t panic.

True, Monday December 15, is the deadline to get coverage that starts on January 1, 2015.

But open enrollment runs through February 15, 2015. You can still switch plans or get a new health insurance with a February 1 or March 1 effective date.

If you want to switch plans but can’t get it done by December 15, here’s what you do: nothing.

Calculate the cost of not having health insurance

If you can’t afford health insurance, then you can’t afford not to have coverage.

The fines triple in 2015 under the Affordable Care Act.

Since you haven’t filed 2014 taxes yet, you might not realize that you could owe a fee at tax time, or have money deducted from your refund, if you were uninsured more than three months of the year.

How much you could owe depends on your household size and income.

The Wall Street Journal created this calculator to help you estimate fees.