Message from Wiley Long
President - ColoHealth
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Hardship Exemptions:
How to Avoid Paying a Tax Penalty

Insurance Enrollment for 2015 runs through February 15, 2015. Most Americans will face a tax penalty if they didn’t sign up for health coverage by this date.

Many individuals could also avoid paying a tax penalty by applying for a hardship exemption. 

Individuals Who Are Exempt from a Tax Penalty

Certain individuals who do not have health coverage are exempt, including:

  • Those with income levels below the level required to file a tax return.
  • You are incarcerated.
  • The coverage available would cost more than 8% of yout household income.
  • You are not a U.S. ciizen.
  • You were uninsured for less than three months 2014.
  • You participate in a health care sharing ministry.
  • You belong to a religious organization that has religious objects to health insurance (including Medical and Social Security).
  • You're a member of an Indian, Alaskan, or other federally recognized tribe.
  • You live in a county with only one or no health insurance carrier.

How to Qualify and Apply for a Hardship Exemption

Many specific circumstances qualify as a hardship exemption including: being a victim of domestic violence, receiving a utility of shut-off notice, filing for bankruptcy, or having your health coverage cancelled. There are many other instances that fall into this category, and you can see more by downloading a copy of the hardship exemption form here:
Hardship Exemption Application Form

Complete the application and attach the supporting documentation as noted on the form. You may also apply when you send in your 2015 federal tax return.  

Your Options After February 15, 2015 - Outside of the Open Enrollment Period

You have several options outside of the open enrollment period including:

  • Contact a ColoHealth Personal Benefits Manager at 800-913-6381 to take advantage of a special enrollment period to enroll for coverage. 
  • File for a hardship exemption.
  • We don’t recommend this one – do nothing at all and pay the penalty.
  • Get a short-term plan until open enrollment starts back in the fall, or as a much less expensive alternative to permanent insurance. You can have coverage as soon as 24 hours after your apply. (Although short-term plans don’t meet ACA standards, you still might have to pay a tax penalty if you’re not exempt, but paying the tax penalty is likely much less costly than the cost of a permanent health insurance plan – so you still win!  Simply click below to get an instant quote and then apply online.

Get Instant Quotes and Apply Online


Contact a ColoHealth Personal Benefits Manager at
800-913-6381 about extensions and special enrollment periods.