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Enroll in health care plan now to avoid penalties

There are some important deadlines that individuals need to be aware of when it comes to enrolling in health insurance for 2014.

Currently, any individual that does not have insurance through Medicare, Medicaid or an employer must enroll in an individual or family plan by March 31. After that date, only individuals with a “qualifying event” will be allowed to enroll in health insurance. An example of a qualifying event would be the loss of employment with an employer that has health insurance. At that point, an individual could qualify for a special enrollment for health insurance through Cover Oregon.

However, an individual cannot enroll for insurance after March 31 if they do not have health insurance through their employer and did not enroll by the end of March 31. This applies to purchasing health insurance through Cover Oregon or directly with a health insurance company in Oregon.

It is very important that individuals enroll in health insurance right away to avoid the closing of the enrollment period for 2014.

Individuals that are currently paying for their own health insurance should look into enrolling in health insurance through Cover Oregon as they may qualify for some tax credits to help reduce their monthly premiums. Individuals can potentially see how much they can save by entering their information in the “browse plans” section at CoverOregon.com.

Also, individuals with employer coverage are not eligible to receive tax credits but may ultimately save money in purchasing their own health insurance directly with a health insurance company.

If an individual decides to enroll in a health insurance plan through Cover Oregon, it is important that they know the following deadlines:

  • Feb. 15 is the deadline to enroll through Cover Oregon with health insurance that will start on March 1.
  • Between Feb. 16 and March 15, an individual can enroll through Cover Oregon to receive health insurance coverage on April 1.
  • Finally, someone will receive coverage May 1 if they enroll through Cover Oregon between March 16 and March 31. Even though health insurance may start on May 1, that individual may be subject to a small tax penalty on their 2014 tax return for the few months that they did not have health insurance.
  • The current tax law gives an individual three continuous months to not have health insurance in 2014 before being assessed the penalty. Since it is currently taking several weeks to hear back from Cover Oregon, it is important that individuals apply as soon as possible through Cover Oregon to receive an early enrollment date.

    It may be beneficial for an individual to contact Cover Oregon and check the status of their application if they submitted their applications several weeks ago and have not heard from Cover Oregon.

    Individuals can receive free assistance in filling out the applications for health insurance or picking a plan by contacting a health insurance agent.



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