Get Covered and Avoid the Penalty!

DiabetesAlert_blogpicBy now you’ve no doubt heard about the many reasons to sign up for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) open enrollment period, which ends January 31. Access to health care services such as a primary care doctor, free preventive services, and peace of mind for you and your family if someone gets sick are all compelling reasons. But there’s another important, practical reason to get covered: those who are not covered by January 31 may have to pay a fine at tax time.

In 2016, the tax penalty for not having health insurance will increase to $695 per individual ($347.50 per child) or 2.5 percent of household income. The amount of the penalty depends on which number is greater. According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, among individuals who were uninsured in early 2015 and eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, the average penalty in 2016 is $969.

AKA-RegistrationThere is good news, though. Financial help is available for those who have yet to purchase an ACA marketplace plan. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), eight out of 10 people eligible for marketplace coverage are also eligible for financial help.

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In 2016, HHS estimates that seven in 10 returning marketplace customers will pay a monthly premium of $75 or less.

In many cases, having health insurance is more affordable than not having insurance and paying the penalty.

In this last week of open enrollment, many uninsured Latino families face a choice: either pay a tax penalty and lack access to critical health care services, or head to the marketplace and shop for a plan that fits their health needs and their budget.

Protect yourself from an unwelcome gift at tax time or debilitating medical bills that could threaten your financial security.

January 31 is the last day to sign up for health coverage at healthcare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov. If you have questions, bilingual help is available for free by phone or in person. To see what local assistance is available in your area, call (800) 318-2596 or head to localhelp.healthcare.gov. This week make sure to look at your options, choose a health plan that fits your budget, and avoid the penalty!

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