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Extra sign-up session for NY State of Health exchange ends soon

People who paid a penalty with their 2014 federal taxes because they lacked health insurance have until next Thursday to enroll in coverage through the NY State of Health exchange to avoid a larger penalty for 2015.

The special enrollment period for New York’s health insurance marketplace began March 1. To be eligible to enroll during this period, New Yorkers must attest they paid a penalty with their 2014 taxes and they didn’t know about the insurance mandate until they began to prepare their taxes. State Health Department officials say they don’t have information on how many people have enrolled since the period began.

The federal Affordable Care Act requires everyone who can afford insurance to obtain it – and charges a free from people who don’t. It’s too late for the uninsured to avoid paying the 2014 penalty, which is $95 per person or 1 percent of their income, but people who enroll during the special period can avoid paying the penalty of at least $325 per person with their 2015 taxes.

The regular open enrollment period for people buying coverage through the state exchange that is effective in 2015 ran from Nov. 15, 2014, to Feb. 15, before it was extended to Feb. 28. The next open enrollment period for 2016 coverage begins Nov. 1.

Visit nystateofhealth.ny.gov for more information.