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Healthcare open enrollment nears deadline

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Open enrollment for healthcare coverage nears its deadline set for March 31, 2014. Individuals and families not enrolled by the open enrollment deadline will need to wait until the next proposed open enrollment date of November 15, 2015. Individuals and families without healthcare coverage in 2014 may have to pay a penalty fee. Individuals who are uninsured will also be held responsible for their entire cost of healthcare.

Individuals and families wanting coverage for February will need to apply by January 15, 2014.

The penalty in 2014 will be calculated in one of two ways, -leaving the highest penalty calculated to be imposed upon the uninsured. The penalty will amount to either one-percent of the yearly household income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, annually. The maximum penalty per family will be $285.

The penalty fee increases for each subsequent year thereafter until 2016. In 2015, the fee increases to two-percent of annual income or $325 per person; in 2016, 2.5 percent of the annual income or $695 per person. Individuals and families, who qualify, may apply for an exemption.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), health insurance marketplace scams have increased the form of emails, phone calls, mail solicitations, and through false websites. HHS warns against accepting any of these solicitations and to abstain from giving out personal information to any solicitor.

Healthcare plans may be viewed before applying at HealthCare.gov. Individuals and families may apply online by visiting HealthCare.gov, or by calling 1-800-318-2596.

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