Uninsured Connecticut residents have less than a week to sign up for health insurance if they wish to avoid a federal tax penalty.
The open healthcare enrollment period ends Sunday at midnight, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and acting Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh said during a press conference Monday afternoon at the state Capitol.
Most people without health insurance who miss that deadline will face steep tax penalties under the Affordable Care Act. This year, the penalties can be as much $975 per family, $325 per person and $162.50 per child, or 2 percent of the total household income over the federal tax-filing threshold.
“It’s not us [the state] that’s going to hit them, but it is their federal tax dollars that they’re going to come after,” Wyman said.
The penalty is designed to “entice people to make sure that they get health insurance,” Wyman said. “Those of us that have insurance are paying a lot of money for those that are uninsured that go to the emergency rooms. We want the best for these individuals, so this was a way of saying, ‘Come on out, get health care and you don’t have to worry about paying a fine.’”
Wyman and Wadleigh encouraged residents to shop for health insurance plans on Access Health CT’s website or at one of the exchange’s walk-in enrollment centers in New Britain and New Haven. Residents can also enroll by calling the exchange at 1-855-805-4325 or by visiting one of several community assistance partners across the state.
Wadleigh said the exchange also has a mobile app residents can use to enroll in a plan from home, as snow made travel difficult Monday.
“There’s all these opportunities out there for everyone, even right now when they are snowbound, to get online or to call to enroll. Being uninsured is costly,” he said.
More than 99,000 people have enrolled or re-enrolled in health insurance so far during this open enrollment period, Wyman said. Although Feb. 15 is the deadline for most people to sign up, some residents will be permitted to enroll after that deadline if they have life-changing event such as a marriage, divorce, birth of a child or adoption.
Wyman said about 40,000 of those customers have enrolled through Anthem, which announced last week that a data breach may have compromised the personal information of tens of millions of its customers. Wyman said Anthem customers should be cautious of communications that appear to be from the health insurance company. She said the company will communicate only through traditional mail.
“If you get an email or a phone call — that is not Anthem calling you, that is somebody else. Please wait for a letter,” she said. Do not “click on any emails coming in from Anthem.”
Wyman said Anthem customers looking for more information can call a helpline at 1-877-263-7995 or visit www.anthemfacts.com.