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Emanuel offering help for special health care enrollment period

For anyone unaware the federal government charges a penalty for not carrying health insurance, Emanuel Medical Center is offering a helping hand.

EMC is ready to assist consumers sign up for health insurance during a special enrollment opportunity for those who did not know or understand there was a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014 or who learned they may face a penalty for 2015. 

 “Throughout the extended enrollment period, Emanuel will continue to offer information and assistance from our certified enrollment counselors,” explained Sue Micheletti, chief executive officer at Emanuel. “We can help people understand their health coverage choices and enroll in the right plan for them.”

This current tax season is the first time the uninsured are required to pay a “shared responsibility payment,” a monetary fee for not being insured. The penalty for going without insurance in 2015 will go up significantly: Those who can afford insurance but choose not to buy it will be subject to paying $325 per adult in a household or 2 percent of their income, whichever is greater.

“For the first time, health care and taxes now are linked arm in arm,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “The law requires everyone to be insured, and if you’re not, you may face a significant financial penalty when you file your taxes this year.”

The special enrollment period, which was extended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is open through April 30 and is only available to individuals who were unaware or did not understand the significance of the fee for not enrolling in coverage for 2015.

“We don’t want anyone to feel blindsided by the shared responsibility payment,” Lee said. “That’s why we are establishing this limited-time special-enrollment that builds on the broader availability of coverage for Californians who have a change of circumstance making them eligible outside of open enrollment.”

Covered California, the state’s marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, reported that 495,073 people selected health plans during the open-enrollment period. Nearly nine out of every 10 new enrollees qualified for some level of financial help for 2015, the organization reported.

Those eligible for this special enrollment period must meet the following requirements:

·       Live in states with a federally-facilitated marketplace – including California

·       Currently are not enrolled in marketplace coverage for 2015

·       Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014

·       Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the significance of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes

Emanuel’s enrollment counselors are available to help with enrollment days, nights or weekends. To schedule an appointment, call 669-4667.