/ Modified feb 20, 2015 5:03 p.m.

Missed Insurance Deadline? Maybe Not.

Federal gov. extends window to buy health insurance to end of April to avoid tax penalty

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Arizonans who did not buy health insurance before the enrollment period ended in mid-February will have a second chance to avoid a tax penalty by getting coverage in the next few months.

The federal government originally set an insurance enrollment deadline of Feb. 15, and those who did not purchase health insurance by then would be penalized when they file their 2015 taxes in about a year.

Federal officials said in a news release some people did not know about the Affordable Care Act mandate that every individual get health insurance last year, and those people are finding out about the tax penalty now, as they do their 2014 taxes.

Therefore, a new enrollment window for states that use the federal health exchange, including Arizona, will open from March 15 to April 30. People who enroll in health insurance during that time will not face a penalty next tax season. They will not be exempt from paying penalties for lack of insurance for the 2014 tax year.

"Our priority is to make sure consumers understand the new requirement to enroll lin health coverage and to provide those who were not aware or did not understand the requirement with an opportunity to enroll in affordable coverage this year," said Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, in a news release.

Those who seek to enroll in coverage during the extended insurance deadline will have to show they are not enrolled in health insurance, they paid a fee for not having insurance in 2014, and attest that they did not know or understand the implications of not having insurance before Feb. 15, 2015.

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