Covered California Special Enrollment

Time is money. Every stylist knows that if you can't work, you don't get paid. An injury or illness can take you off the job and cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. That's why health insurance can be so important to you, your family and your business.

If you still don't have health care coverage, the cost for being uninsured is rising. While Covered California's open enrollment period is over, you may still be able to get health care coverage through one of the name brand insurance companies, and get financial help in paying for your coverage.

Covered California has established a special-enrollment opportunity for people who are just now learning the tax consequences for going without health care coverage. Although it's too late to avoid the tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014, consumers have until April 30 to protect themselves and minimize the financial penalty for being uninsured in 2015.

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires most people to be insured, or they will pay what is called the "shared responsibility payment" when they file their taxes. As the penalty increases, it makes more and more sense for people who have been waiting on the sidelines to get in and get covered.

Thanks to the financial assistance that is available, it actually costs some people less to buy insurance than to pay the penalty. For example, a 30-year-old person in Los Angeles, making $18,000 a year would pay $252 over the course of 2015 to be covered under the least expensive Bronze plan. Or the individual could go without insurance for the entire year and pay a $325 penalty when they file a tax return next year.

A couple in Los Angeles, both 30 years old, making $28,000 dollars a year combined would pay $468 over the course of 2015 to be covered under the least expensive Bronze plan. Or they could go without insurance for the entire year and owe $650 when they file their taxes next year.

Covered California is also offering a special enrollment period for consumers who experience a life-changing event – as long as they do so within 60 days of the event.

For information on special enrollment, visit www.CoveredCA.com/ individuals-and-families/getting-covered/special-enrollment. You can also call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.