Avoid Tax Penalty Woes

Avoid tax penalty woes: Sign up year-round for $0/$20 health plan

If you’re filing an income tax return and paying a penalty because you had no health insurance last year, consider making a move now to reduce your fine for next year.

If you’re currently uninsured, consider whether you qualify for the new $0 or $20 Essential Plan. Those who qualify for the Essential Plan and enroll by March 15 for coverage starting April 1 could have their 2016 tax penalty reduced from $695 to $174 when they file next year’s tax returns.

“This is the time of year when people become painfully aware of the tax penalty for being uninsured,” said Melinda Spire, supervisor of facilitated enrollment services at Univera Healthcare. “But signing up now for the Essential Plan is one way for qualifying individuals to lessen the amount of money they’ll owe next year.”

Those who are eligible for the Essential Plan can enroll in the plan at any time all year long through the NY State of Health marketplace. Eligibility is based on household size and income.

·  You’ll likely pay a $0 monthly premium for the Essential Plan if your annual household income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($17,655 for a household of one; $36,375 for a household of four).

·   You’ll likely pay a monthly premium of $20 for each adult enrolled in the Essential Plan if your annual household income is between 151 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,540 for a household of one; $48,500 for a household of four).

The federal penalty for going without health insurance in 2016 is $695 per person, or 2.5 percent of household income – whichever is greater. If you have health coverage for part of the year, you’ll pay about $58 per month, or 2.5 percent of household income, for each month that you are uninsured. Your tax penalty will increase with each month that you are uninsured.

The Essential Plan provides low-cost coverage and valuable benefits, including:

·   Access to a wide selection of doctors and hospitals
·   Routine preventive care checkups, screenings and immunizations for a $0 copayment
·   No deductible
·   Prescription drug coverage
·   $400 a year toward a fitness facility or individual fitness class reimbursement

To see if you qualify for the Essential Plan, call Univera Healthcare at (888) 291-8957) or ChooseUnivera.com/ZeroOption.