Health plan enrollment period extended

With a tax penalty looming for residents who don’t have health insurance, the open enrollment period for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has been extended to April 17.

Under the Affordable Care Act, those who aren’t covered by health insurance in 2015 will face a penalty next year through the Internal Revenue Service of $325 per individual or up to 2 percent of their income, whichever is greater. The original deadline to enroll in a qualified health plan was February 15. The extension of the enrollment period in Washington allows extra time for people who weren’t aware of the tax penalty to get health insurance and avoid the penalty.

“This is the first year that residents may incur a tax penalty for not having health insurance under the Affordable Care Act,” said Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “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.”

As of mid-February, nearly 160,000 Washington residents had signed up for a qualified health plan through the website wahealthplanfinder.org.

Those seeking a healthplan between now and April 17 can complete an application at wahealthplanfinder.org. The extension to April 17 also allows customers who have had problems with their application to resolve those problems and avoid paying a
tax penalty.

When prompted to select the type of special enrollment being applied for, customers should select “Other.” Customers will then be asked to contact the toll-free customer support center to request a special enrollment at 855/923-4633.

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