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Obamacare: Special Enrollment Period Underway

L Harless
Flickr Creative Commons

The open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance is over. But, many might still be able to register for coverage.

The next open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act isn’t until November. But, Lynnette Cale with the McDonough County Health Department says there are several reasons someone may be eligible to sign up for health insurance before then.

“Say for example they’ve had a baby during the year or they’ve gotten divorced,” Cale said. “They may have lost a job or gained a job. Those things will affect their enrollment. If they already have a plan they need to update it. If they don’t have a plan, let's say they had a job and had insurance, they lost it and now they need to get insurance they can do that during the special enrollment period.”

Qualifying Life Events may include:

  • Moving to a new state
  • Certain changes to income
  • Changes in family size
  • Losing other health coverage

All applications for special registration must be submitted within 60 days of the qualifying life event and be approved by the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Anyone who was uninsured in 2014 or who signed up for coverage after March 31st will face a tax penalty next year.

Those completely uninsured will face a penalty on their 2014 taxes of either 1% of their yearly household income or $95 per person, whichever is higher. For those who are uninsured for just a portion of the year will be required to pay a tax penalty based on the number of months without coverage.

President Obama's administration reports more than 7.5 million Americans signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.