CMS issued a press release Friday announcing yet another special enrollment period. For people who were uninsured in 2014, owe an individual shared responsibility penalty, and are just learning about the penalties for the first time, they will be able to sign up for coverage between March 15th and April 30th.
This “Special Enrollment Period for Tax Season” as they’re calling it isn’t for everyone. “Those eligible for this special enrollment period live in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace and:
1. Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015,
2. Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and
3. Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.”
This does present an opportunity for brokers to pick up some additional sales, but it may not be the biggest opportunity for agents with private exchange websites who are focusing on generating multiple leads at once. Those brokers may do better to spend their time visiting with employer groups that are deciding whether or not to drop their group plan in the coming months.
CMS says that only about “2 to 4 percent” of taxpayers “will pay a fee because they made a choice to not obtain coverage and are not eligible for an exemption,” and these are the individuals who can benefit from this new special enrollment period. Still, this announcement could provide brokers with an additional opportunity to get in front of churches or other organizations where multiple people may be facing a tax penalty. it may also be a good idea to network with tax preparers who are encountering these taxpayers on a daily basis. While agents can’t help them with their 2014 penalty, they can solve their problem for next year.