Important Dates

November 1, 2016
Open Enrollment for 2017 coverage begins
December 15, 2016
Last day to enroll for coverage starting on January 1, 2017
January 31, 2017
Last day to enroll for 2017 coverage

It’s the law. All U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. Health insurance can include insurance through your job, coverage you buy on your own, Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) or Medicare.

The Penalty

If you did not have coverage in 2016, you will be penalized when you file your 2016 tax return in April of 2017. The penalty is $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18) or 2.5 percent of your yearly household income, whichever is greater. For example:

Annual Income* Potential Penalty (2.5% of Income)
$35,000 $875
$45,000 $1,125

* Assumes household of one person. Please consult a tax professional to get an estimate for your specific household.

Avoid the Penalty

Open Enrollment ended on Jan. 31, 2016 but certain life events may qualify you to enroll or change your health insurance coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period within 60 days of the event.

We can help you:

  1. Save on your monthly health insurance costs
  2. Avoid a penalty at the end of the year
  3. Get the peace of mind health insurance provides in the event of an emergency or long-term health issue

Individuals in the following situations can get an exemption from the law:

  • People who qualify for religious exemptions
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • People who are incarcerated
  • Members of federally-recognized tribes and certain other Native Americans

Other exemptions could include:

  • The cost of insurance was deemed “unaffordable.” If the lowest cost Bronze-level Marketplace plan available to you in 2016 cost more than 8.05 percent of your household income. Use the tool below to determine if this applies to you.
  • Being homeless
  • Eviction in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure
  • Experiencing a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property
  • Filing for bankruptcy in the last 6 months
  • Having medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months

Calculating an Affordability Exemption

If the lowest cost Bronze-level Marketplace plan available to you in 2016 cost more than 8.05 percent of your household income, you qualify for a health coverage exemption. This means you wouldn’t have to pay the fee for any months you were uncovered in 2016.
IMPORTANT: The only way to know if you qualify for this exemption is to complete your 2016 federal income tax return.

Find your lowest cost Bronze-level plan for 2015

If you believe any of the above exemptions or circumstances applies to you, you can find the appropriate forms and more information here.

How to confirm your coverage

In January 2017, we will send you a Form 1095-A with more information on how to confirm your coverage and/or the amount of Advance Premium Tax Credit you received to help pay for your premiums in 2016. Learn more.

Don’t just take it from us – hear what others have to say about the tax penalty.

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