About 40,000 people obtained coverage through the special enrollment period the Obama administration launched for those who had an in-process application on HealthCare.gov but were unable to wrap it up by the original Feb. 15 deadline, HHS announced Wednesday.
To date, 8.8 million people have obtained coverage through the federal marketplace. An additional 2.8 million people obtained coverage from state-based marketplaces, bringing total enrollment to 11.6 million.
The special enrollment period ended Feb. 22. The number of people that had an in-the-works application by deadline on HealthCare.gov, but faced technical woes, was unknown. HHS had announced that just under 150,000 people had attempted but were unable to complete applications through the federal call center by Feb. 15.
HHS' goal for the second re-enrollment period is to have an effectuated enrollment, people who have selected plans and paid for them, of 9.1 million. It may not be until the next open-enrollment period begins in November that the agency will know if it has reached that goal.
A second special enrollment period to help consumers avoid tax penalties for not obtaining health insurance coverage this year will be March 15-April 30. Up to 6 million Americans are expected to pay a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, according to recent Obama administration projections. Most of the uninsured won't actually face the penalty because they'll qualify for an exemption, either related to their inability to afford coverage or some other hardship.
For 2015, the penalty is $325 per uninsured person or 2% of household income over the filing threshold. That's up from 2014, when it was $95 per uninsured person or 1% of household income over the filing threshold.
To qualify for the special enrollment period, people will need to self-attest that they had to pay a penalty for not having coverage in 2014, they cannot be currently enrolled in a plan on HealthCare.gov, and claim that they only found out they were going to have to pay a tax penalty when they filed their income tax forms. The CMS had no estimates on how many people fall into this group.
California, Minnesota, Vermont and Washington state all also have announced special enrollment periods for people who did not obtain coverage by Feb. 15. Others say they are still considering the matter.
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