HHS will hold a special enrollment period March 15-April 30 so consumers can avoid tax penalties for not obtaining health insurance coverage this year, Andrew Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at CMS, said during a news briefing last Friday.
The CMS also announced that as many as 800,000 enrollees received incorrect subsidy information on the 1095-A tax forms sent by the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov. As a result, some have incorrectly calculated that they received too large a subsidy, while others have incorrectly deduced their subsidy was too small.
To qualify for special enrollment, consumers must self-attest that they paid a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, are not enrolled in a plan on HealthCare.gov for 2015, and claim they found out about their penalty only when they filed returns.
California, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington state also have announced special enrollment periods for residents who did not obtain coverage by Feb. 15. Other states say they are still considering the matter.
As many as 6 million Americans are expected to pay a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, according to Obama administration projections. Most of the uninsured won't actually face the penalty because they will qualify for an exemption, either related to their inability to afford coverage or some other hardship.