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Deadline For Health Care Enrollment Is Feb. 15

The clock is ticking for those who haven’t bought health coverage for 2015.

The deadline for open enrollment is Feb. 15th. So far, Washington state is falling short on its enrollment goals. To date, more than 40,000 residents have bought health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s health exchange. The state’s goal was more than twice that.  

State exchange spokesman Michael Marchand says part of the reason for the shortfall is that more people were eligible for Medicaid than anticipated. Still, he says it’s likely that people will wait until the last minute to hit the purchase button, like last year.

“As we approach the deadline we’re absolutely expecting that to happen again,” says Marchand. “Not just for people signing up for the first time, but for people who maybe had put off re-enrolling for a variety of reasons earlier in the year.”

It matters how many people buy private health plans on the exchange. The agency’s operation relies on fees from health plans sold online. For the past two years, it operated using federal funds. But from now on, it will rely more on sales fees for its operating budget.

“We’re watching this very closely,” says Marchand. “And we’ll be having conversations with the Legislature as it relates to ultimately where our budget winds up.”

The exchange has requested $147 million over two years.

This week, the exchange sent out 1095A forms to customers who have purchased health plans online. Those forms will be required when filing income taxes.

This is the year that penalties kick in for those who didn’t have health coverage in 2014. The penalty is $95 per person, or 1 percent of your annual household income.

Year started with KUOW: 1994