3,047 got private health insurance in special March-April signup designed to avoid or reduce tax penalty for not being covered

More than 3,000 Kentuckians signed up for health
coverage during a special March-April enrollment period that allowed them to avoid or reduce tax penalties for being uninsured.

“At the Feb. 15 close of the 2015 open enrollment period, 158,685 individuals had enrolled in health care coverage through Kynect for 2015,” a state press release said. “That number included 102,830 Kentuckians who have either newly enrolled in a qualified health plan since Nov. 15, 2014, or renewed the private insurance plan they purchased through Kynect last year.”

With the additional 3,047 enrollments, the final enrollment in private health insurance was 105,877. The federal tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014 was $95 for each adult household member or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater. In 2015, it will be $325 for each adult or two percent of income, whichever is greater. Penalties for not insuring children are half those for adults.

“Given that the
personal risks of not having health coverage are even greater than the
penalties, we decided to continue a special enrollment period to allow those
individuals more time to sign up,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in the release.

Those who took advantage of the
special enrollment period will still owe a penalty for any months they were uninsured
and did not qualify for an exemption in 2014 and 2015. “This special enrollment
period was designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered
for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015,” the release said.

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