Special Enrollment Period Offers Second Chance for Health Insurance
NC Get Covered provides free enrollment assistance and tax-filing resources
Raleigh, N.C. – March 11, 2015 – Through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax-filing special enrollment period, uninsured North Carolinians have from March 15 to April 30 to purchase a health insurance plan through the Marketplace. The special enrollment period allows those who were unaware of the fine for not having health insurance the opportunity to enroll in health coverage for 2015. To help North Carolinians through this process, NC Get Covered is offering free enrollment assistance and tax-filing resources to ensure that North Carolinians get covered and avoid a future fine.
To be eligible for this special enrollment period, North Carolinians must meet the following requirements:
- Are currently not enrolled in coverage through the Marketplace for 2015
- Attest that, when they file their 2014 tax return, they are subject to the fine for not having health coverage in 2014
- Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the fine after the open enrollment period ended (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes
"We want North Carolinians to know that there's still time to get covered," said Lee Dixon, project director for NC Get Covered. "We're here to help those still in need of coverage find the best plan for their needs."
In addition to the time-limited tax-filing special enrollment period, there are special enrollment periods for those who experience a qualifying life event during the year:
- Change in household size
- Change in circumstances
- Losing health coverage
- Moving outside your health plan's coverage
- Experiencing a change of income
- Change in status (includes citizenship and release from incarceration)
- Complex cases (exceptional circumstances such as enrollment errors, system errors, etc.)
NC Get Covered offers free, online resources including information about health insurance options, new ACA requirements and free tax-filing programs for those who qualify. This free tax-filing assistance can save North Carolina consumers hundreds of dollars in tax preparation fees.
"We're pleased to see that more than 560,000 North Carolinians got health coverage during the last enrollment period," said Get Covered America North Carolina State Director Sorien Schmidt. "But we know that many more North Carolinians can still get quality, affordable health coverage now and may not know it. If you still need coverage and think you meet the qualifications to enroll, act now to ensure you can spend 2015 with quality, affordable health coverage."
Consumers can access www.NCGetCovered.org and click on "Free Tax-Filing Assistance" to receive:
- Information about health insurance and tax-filing requirements
- Access to a resource directory of free tax filing programs (sponsored by the United Way of North Carolina's NC 2-1-1 service)—both online and in-person—available to those within certain income limits
"This year, tax-filers will see new questions regarding their health insurance status over the past year," said Ralph Gildehaus, senior program director at MDC, a Durham-based nonprofit, sponsor of The Benefit Bank® of North Carolina's free online tax assistance service and creator of the www.NCGetCovered.org website. "For individuals who enrolled in a plan on the Marketplace, this will mean filing new tax forms. For those who owe tax penalties on their 2014 taxes, consumers may be eligible for the special enrollment period. Help is available to walk North Carolinians through the process during this tax season."
Visit www.NCGetCovered.org to learn more about the ACA, free tax assistance, and how to apply for health insurance, including by self-service, over the phone or through in-person enrollment assistance at local nonprofit organizations. Text the key words "GET COVERED" to 69866 to receive a listing of the closest nonprofit organization locations (within a 40 mile radius) that provide in-person health insurance enrollment assistance. Consumers can also schedule free appointments any day in their county on the NC Get Covered website or by calling 1-855-733-3711.
About NC Get Covered
NC Get Covered is a non-partisan initiative, powered by The Big Tent Coalition, committed to improving health outcomes in North Carolina through outreach, education and enrollment in the health insurance marketplace. The Big Tent Coalition is made of up nearly 100 organizations, including community-based organizations, hospitals, insurance carriers, in-person assisters and non-profit organizations, and more than 480 people throughout North Carolina. With grants from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, The Big Tent Coalition has developed a formal infrastructure to further enhance North Carolina's efforts to meet the challenges and take advantage of opportunities in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. For more information, visit www.NCGetCovered.org.