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You Still Have Time to Sign up for Affordable Care Act Health Insurance for 2016 Coverage

If you missed the December 15, 2015 deadline to enroll for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Federal Marketplace, all is not lost.   That was the deadline for health coverage beginning January 1, 2016.

You still have until January 31, 2016.

Individuals and sole proprietors can still sign up for a policy and save yourself some money in the long run.

Those who enroll or make policy changes between January 16 and January 31 would have their health insurance policies take effect on March 1, 2016. That can be helpful.  Getting coverage by that date may save you money.  You might

qualify for a “short gap” exemption from a fee that will be charged when you file your 2016 tax return.  Signing up now can reduce your fee by 1/12th for each month you are not covered during the 2016 income tax year.

The fee for not having health insurance in 2016 is calculated 2 different ways – as a percentage of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay whichever is higher.

Percentage of income

  • 2.5% of household income
  • Maximum: Total yearly premium for the national average price of a Bronze plan sold through the Marketplace

Per person

  • $695 per adult
  • $347.50 per child under 18
  • Maximum: $2,085

Paying the fee

  • Using the percentage method, only the part of your household income that’s above the yearly tax filing threshold ($10,150 for individuals, $20,300 for couples filing jointly in 2014, the most recent year available) is counted.
  • Using the per-person method, you pay only for people in your household who don’t have insurance coverage.
  • If you have coverage for part of the year, the fee is 1/12 of the annual amount for each month you (or your tax dependents) don’t have coverage. If you’re uncovered only 1 or 2 months, you don’t have to pay the fee at all..

Remember, you will have to pay the fee for not having insurance when you file your federal tax return for next the year if you don’t have coverage.  So get on board.  There are plenty of resources, including info about the “short gap” exemption at www.healthcare.gov, including links to people who can help you.  You can also contact the 24/7 call center at 1-800-318-2596, or find in-person help near you at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov. It’s free. It’s confidential.

Note that small businesses who want to cover their employees can sign up for employer funded policies ANY time of the year!  So, Shop. Compare. Choose. Enroll!

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About Patricia Brown-Dixon

Patricia Brown‐Dixon was named Regional Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region VII Office by SBA Administrator Karen Mills in January of 2011 as a Schedule C appointee of President Barack Obama. Previously Ms. Brown‐Dixon served in the federal government by helping small business owners as the Director of the Office of Business and…

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