If you’re uninsured, there’s still time to sign up for health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace and avoid the penalty. Under the Affordable Care Act, 2015 is the first year Americans must prove they had qualifying health insurance (or an approved exemption) for the previous year (when filing 2014 taxes), or face a tax penalty.
For 2015, if you don’t obtain insurance by Feb. 15, the last day to of the Open Enrollment period, the penalty will be applied to your annual taxable income for each full month you don’t have health insurance in 2015. The penalty fee is $325 per adult, $162.50 per child – up to $975/family or 2 percent of family income, whichever is higher. And, without insurance, you will be financially responsible for all of your medical costs.
The good news is based on household income and dependents, some individuals may qualify for financial assistance from the government – or subsidies – towards the cost of the premium and other financial obligations like co-pays or deductibles.
“This is where Greenbrier Valley Medical Center can help the uninsured in our community,” said Paige Adkins, chief financial officer. “With many people lacking access to a computer or just need help maneuvering through the enrollment website, our application counselors can help. We can assist individuals and their families evaluate the available health plans and determine if they’re eligible for Medicaid or other insurance options.”
In all states, Medicaid provides health coverage for some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In some states, the program covers all low-income adults below a certain income level.
West Virginia has chosen to expand Medicaid coverage. This expansion increases the eligibility limits for adults to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (equivalent to an annual income of $16,105/year for one person; $32,913 for a family of four in 2015). However, citizens must enroll in the program; it’s not automatic.
“Let us help take the frustration out of the enrollment process. Call us at 304-647-6506 before Feb. 15 to help you get a healthy start to the New Year,” said Adkins.