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Those who took advantage of the 2015 Obamacare enrollment extension had extra time to find the coverage they need. But as the 2017 enrollment period approaches, Americans probably won't see another extension. That’s why it’s important to make sure you enroll in a plan before the initial Obamacare deadline on January 31.

When over 41 million Americans living without health insurance, it was hard not to take notice. Reforming America’s healthcare system benefited an even larger number of Americans across the nation, but there is work to be done.

2015 Obamacare Enrollment Extension

The extension occurred between March 15 and April 30, 2015, and was granted to Americans who qualified due to altering life events. This included missing the deadline due to a change in family status, losing coverage under a previous health insurance plan as a result of a change in job status, or falling on hardships.

Other qualifying reasons for an extension were:

  • You lived in any state except for Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, or Vermont.
  • You had not enrolled in a health insurance plan in 2015.
  • You paid the 2014 tax penalty when filing your income tax.
  • You did not know you would owe a tax penalty while preparing your taxes.

Obamacare Penalties for the Uninsured

If you missed the Obamacare enrollment extension and weren’t qualified for a unique extension period, you may have found yourself paying the penalty. In 2016, the penalty for missing the deadlines was the greater amount of:

  • $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (under 18 years), up to $2,085 per household; or
  • 2.5% of yearly household income.

In 2017, the penalty for missing the deadlines is expected to increase to paying the greater amount of:

  • An increased flat fee depending on inflation; or
  • 2.5% of yearly household income.

Enrolling in healthcare coverage for 2017 during the open enrollment period, November 1 - January 31, may prevent you from having to pay the higher penalty in 2017.

Future Obamacare Enrollment Extensions?

Though an Obamacare extension period for 2017 is not expected to be announced, it’s important to keep an eye out for updates. Regardless of whether you enroll during the enrollment period or a possible, but not likely extension, having health insurance may ultimately save you money.

HealthMarkets can help you enroll in health insurance coverage before the enrollment period ends.  Remember, there is no guarantee of a future Obamacare enrollment extension. Contact one of our local, licensed agents today to get started on your health coverage.




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