12 OYS: Special enrollment helping some avoid Obamacare tax penalties

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / April 7, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- If you don't have health insurance, prepare to pay a penalty if you have to file taxes. "This year the penalty is $95 dollars or 1% of your income. For some people that could turn out to be quite a bit of money, said Elaine Wegrzyn, with H&R Block.

She said for example, an uninsured family of four earning 60,000 a year, could be fined as much as $400 this year and close to $1,000 next year.

Wegrzyn said tax filers are starting to grasp how the Affordable Care Act could impact their taxes. "I think they are getting to a point where they are starting to realize that it is going to impact them," said Wegrzyn.

The good news is some folks may qualify to have their ACA tax penalty reduced or eliminated. "Remember, there are thirty exclusions, or exemptions. So you want to investigate those before you think that you have to pay a penalty," said Wegryzn.

For example, if you live in South Carolina or Georgia which do not participate in the federal marketplace. of if you were uninsured for no more than 2 consecutive months. And if you simply never signed up for health coverage it is still not too late. "People that missed the initial enrollment through the marketplace have another option," said Wegryzn.

She said based on your circumstances, you can sign up through a special enrollment period which runs through April 30th.

If you are not enrolled in health insurance coverage for 2015, were unaware of the penalties until after open enrollment ended in February, or if you paid a penalty for being without insurance last year.