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The Washington Health Benefit Exchange has created a Special Enrollment Period from February 17 through April 17 allowing individuals that weren’t able to enroll into a healthcare plan by the original deadline of February 15th additional time to enroll.

This period will basically be for anyone who hasn’t purchased health insurance for 2015. Individuals can qualify for the extension by calling customer service at the WA Health Benefit Exchange (855-923-4633) and explaining that they weren’t aware of how big the tax penalty would be for not having health insurance. Customers can also request this special enrollment period by  stating they are existing customers and they have been having technical issues with fully submitting their application.

This special enrollment window will allow these individuals—as well as those who experienced difficulty completing their applications—additional time to get enrolled for 2015 coverage

The penalty for people filing their taxes in early 2016 will be $325 per adult or 2% of their annual income, whichever is higher. The flat amount is up $230 from the $95 penalty for not having health insurance in 2014. Richard Onizuka, CEO for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, acknowledges that the deadline extension will likely help the exchange get closer to its enrollment goal of 213,000 for this year, but he insists that isn’t the point. The exchange is still more than 50,000 away from its enrollment goal.

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