Deadline Looming To Sign Up For Health Insurance - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Deadline Looming To Sign Up For Health Insurance

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BOZEMAN -

You have only 12 days to enroll in health insurance if you don't already have insurance.

If you aren't insured by then, you will face penalties.

"After March 31, you will not be able to buy insurance on the individual market until the next open enrollment period," said Jennifer McKee, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen spokeswoman.

Under the Affordable Care Act, you will be penalized by the IRS come next tax season if you don't get health insurance by then.

And McKee said many Montanans are signing up.

"As of March 1, Montana has seen 22,542 people who have gone through the healthcare.gov and selected their plan," said McKee.

Of those 22,542, 26% are between 18 and 24.

McKee said that number only reflects those who signed up for insurance on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, so more Montanans are actually covered.

"The insurance sold on that website is private insurance, offered by private companies," said McKee. "Those same companies sell insurance outside the website, as do other companies that don't sell within the website people commonly think of as Obamacare."

The penalties will be phased in over the next three years for those that don't sign up.

The penalty for not having health insurance in 2014 is $95 for adults and $47.50 for kids, up to $285 for a family or one percent of the family income, whichever is greater.

In 2015, the penalties go up to $325 for adults and $162.50 for kids, up to $975 for a family or two percent of income, whichever is greater.

The penalties peak in 2016 when the penalties for adults are $695 and $347.50 for kids, up to $2085 for a family or 2.5 percent of income, again whichever is greater.

If you miss the March 31 deadline, open enrollment for 2015 begins in November.

There are several meetings across the state planned to answer your questions about the health care changes.

In Missoula, meetings will be at the Missoula Public Library March 22, 23, 29 and 30 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on March 31 from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

On March 28 there will be a meeting at the Butte Job Service at 2201 White Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Another meeting will be in Butte the next day, March 29 at the Butte Plaza Mall office from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There are no more meetings planned in Bozeman or Kalispell.

You can click here for more information about the health care changes and to find a meeting near you.

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