Avoid a fee: Healthcare enrollment extended

Not every surprise is a good one. During tax season, the old expression rings especially true. Sometimes we get blindsided by an overlooked guideline. Oh, if we had only known.

Have you already made the February 15 health care enrollment deadline? If not, don’t let the resulting fee from the IRS come as a surprise. Fortunately for those Oregonians and Southwest Washingtonians who remain without a health plan, a special enrollment period (SEP) is your way out of a hefty fee. See the following state-specific information below.


For Oregonians who have not yet chosen and signed up for health insurance on HealthCare.gov, if you enroll between March 15 and April 30, you will NOT be responsible for a fee when filing your 2016 income taxes. There are, however, qualifications that apply. You are eligible if you:

  • Currently are not enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2015
  • Attest that when you filed your 2014 tax return this year, you paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014
  • Attest that you first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing your 2014 taxes.

The special enrollment period will begin on March 15, 2015 and end at 11:59pm EST on April 30, 2015. Note that if you enroll in coverage before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the following month.  

SW Washington

Uninsured Washingtonians face a penalty at filing time 2016 from the IRS of $325 per person or up to 2% of your income, whichever is greater. The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has announced that you now have through April 15, 2015 to enroll if: 

  • Technical difficulties with the application website (wahealthplanfinder.org) kept you from finishing your application for a health care plan
  • You did not know about the tax penalty until you filed your tax return

If You Did Not Know About the Tax Penalty: Fill out an online application at wahealthplanfinder.org. When it asks you what type of special enrollment you are applying for, choose “other.” The site will tell you to contact the toll-free Customer Support Center to ask for a special enrollment at 1-855-923-4633.

If Technical Issues Kept You from Finishing Your Application: You are still eligible if you have already started an application, but any of the following kept you from finishing your enrollment or renewal:

  • system delays or technical defects with www.wahealthplanfinder.org
  • you could not submit an application because your income could not be verified
  • unclear instructions regarding the steps for 2015 enrollment

You must ask for the spring special enrollment period by 4:59pm on April 17. You must pick a Qualified Health Plan and submit a payment by 11:59pm on April 17 to secure 2015 coverage.

Visit the SEP FAQ for answers to common questions or get in touch with health exchange staff by calling 1-855-923-4633 or by email at customersupport@wahbexchange.org