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Old 04-14-2016, 04:32 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Lack of insurance tax penalty mitigation

How does one go about getting a partial break on the tax penalty for failing to have health insurance?

Situation: The company I worked at for most of last year provided insurance, but I did not manage to get signed up in November 2014's "open enrollment". I fully intended (honestly) to enroll in November of 2015. Alas, I lost my job on October 12. While I did find new employment within a week, I would not be eligible for the new company's insurance until after 90 days. So I continued uninsured through the end of 2015.

I just filed my 2015 taxes via TurboTax, and their site suggested that I could get a refund of the penalty if I met certain conditions. Unfortunately, "I lost my job" was not one of the presented conditions. I have no objection (well, I do, but not for the purpose of this question*) to being penalized for the months of January through October; it was my own procrastination/negligence that left me uninsured for those months. But for November-December, there was simply no way for me to immediately enroll in a new program. For that matter, due to my new company only providing insurance to employees who work 80+ hours/month, and needing to have two consecutive 80-hour months to become eligible, I have only just now become eligible at my new company Nov 2015 thru Feb 2016 were slow enough, business-wise, that I didn't have enough hours. For those months I barely earned enough to cover my existing expenses, and in fact had to ask for financial help from my church more than once during that period. I consider paying my rent, keeping the electricity on, and feeding myself to be more vital than signing up and paying for Obamacare.

So is there any way at all to get reimbursed for the penalties for November and December?

* The main objection I have is that, if I am going to be penalized for not having insurance (to the tune of these penalties devouring more than half of my tax refund), I think that I ought to be able to enroll in a program at any time. I fully understand the reasons behind insurance companies having a limited "open enrollment" window. But if I am going to be forced by Federal law to have it and be fined if I don't, then I should be able to easily sign up for, at least, the government-subsidized program at any time. Or, at the very least, require that "open enrollment" periods be moved to much earlier in the year so that I'm not forced to wait (and be penalized for) 10 months.
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Old 04-14-2016, 04:55 PM
slash2k slash2k is offline
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Have you worked through the exemption app at https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/year ? Getting a shutoff notice on your utility, e.g., is potentially an exemption, and there is also a general "other -- explain" option on the exemption application itself. https://www.healthcare.gov/exemption-form-instructions/
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Old 04-14-2016, 06:46 PM
Mister Rik Mister Rik is offline
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Thanks, I'll take a look at that. Turbotax didn't bother pointing me there, as far as I could see.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:56 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
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IRS Instructions for Form 8965 {PDF} has information about coverage exemptions, looks like you can find your situation for an exemption somewhere in there.
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