Tax Penalty

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Second Obamacare Enrollment Likely to Be Even Tougher Than First

Miles Alva, 28, says getting insured is not a priority and would rather deal with the penalty. (Heidi de Marco/KHN).

Miles Alva, 28, says getting insured is not a priority and would rather deal with the penalty. (Heidi de Marco/KHN).

By Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

As states gear up for round two of Obamacare enrollment next month, they have their sights set on people like Miles Alva.

Covered California seeks to renew 1.2 million members — and enroll 500,000 new people.

Alva, 28, works part-time at a video store and is about to graduate from Cal State Northridge. Getting insured is about the last thing on his mind.

“It’s not a priority,” the television and cinema arts student said. “I am not interested in paying for health insurance right now.”

The second round of enrollment under the nation’s Affordable Care Act promises to be tougher than the first. Many of those eager to get covered already did, including those with health conditions that had prevented them from getting insurance in the past. Continue reading

Deadline Tuesday: Final Days to Enroll for 2014 Health Insurance

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Time’s up.

After various extensions, the deadline to finish signing up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act is here. People have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to complete their applications.

If you don’t have insurance you may have to pay a penalty on your taxes next year — as much as 1 percent of income.

Dana Howard from the state marketplace Covered California says the deadline is real. There will be no more grace periods for people who encounter long lines or technical difficulties on the website. There will be no special dispensation this time for people who wait until the last minute.

“We’re not making up a new policy for people who have not taken this seriously,” Howard said. “This is your health. This is a new law.” Continue reading

How Tax Preparers Are Encouraging Obamacare Sign Ups

Susan Pau is a tax advisor at the San Mateo office of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. (April Dembosky/KQED)

Susan Veamatahau Pau is a tax advisor at the San Mateo office of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. She’s says some of her customers are not pleased when they learn how high their tax penalty might be if they do not sign up for health insurance. (April Dembosky/KQED)

It’s one week to the final deadline to enroll in a health plan, but it’s also tax season. Millions of people are visiting their tax preparers — often so they can get the biggest refund possible. But this year, many of them are also getting advice about health insurance. That’s because next year, under the Affordable Care Act, people will have to pay what could be a hefty tax penalty if they are uninsured for more than three months.

Susana Veamatahau Pau is a tax preparer with Jackson Hewitt Tax Services, which has 6,400 locations nationwide. Like other tax advisers, she sees it as her responsibility to make sure her clients know what’s coming.

“The government is not the first person they’re going to interact with when they get the penalty,” she says from her office in San Mateo. “It’s really us.” Continue reading