The window to enroll in an Affordable Care Act health plan is closing as the Feb. 15 deadline nears for Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment. The time crunch has an added concern for more than 220,000 uninsured residents in the San Antonio area who are still debating whether to continue without health care coverage or pay a penalty on 2015 income tax filings next tax season.
To help residents navigate these questions, Community First Health Plans will conduct Health Coverage assistance at its Avendia Guadalupe location at 1410 Guadalupe Street, Suite 222, during the first two weeks in February. The nonprofit health plan will extend office hours to 7 p.m. for these workshops on Feb. 2, 4, 5, 9, 11 and 12.
“It is important for us to educate everyone about the Affordable Care Act and how it can positively impact tens of thousands of individuals and families living in our area without health care coverage,” said Cathy Zambrano-Chavez, director of corporate communications.
Individuals who did not have coverage in 2014 will pay the higher of these two amounts when they file their 2014 tax return this season:
- A fee totaling 1 percent of the annual household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax-filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The national average premium for a bronze plan in 2014 in the marketplace was the maximum threshold for this fee.
- $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family $285.
Those who don’t have health care coverage in 2015 will pay the higher of these two amounts, according to Healthcare.gov:
- A fee totaling 2 percent of the annual household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax-filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The national average premium for a bronze plan in 2015 in the marketplace will be the maximum threshold for this fee.
- $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.
In 2016, the fee will increase to 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person. The rate will continue increasing year after year for those who are uninsured.
Community First Health Plans has enrollment specialists available to assist in both English in Spanish, explaining the open enrollment process, how to get coverage through different health plans, monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs, and eligibility.
For more information on Community First Health Plans and its services, please visit communityfirsthealth.org.