08 Mar Filing Your Taxes? Get Health Insurance through Easy Enrollment.
Given how complicated the health insurance enrollment process can be, some states have found a way to make it simpler and easier for people to get covered, through easy enrollment programs.
What are Easy Enrollment Programs?
Easy enrollment programs are new state efforts to inform individuals of their health insurance options using their tax returns.
Generally, here’s how it works:
When you file your state tax returns, you can
- Check off that you do not have health insurance; and
- Give the state tax department permission to send your financial information to the state’s health insurance Marketplace.
Then, the Marketplace will check if you are eligible for Medicaid or a Marketplace plan. The Marketplace will contact you with information about what you qualify for and can even help you sign up.
There are currently five states that have easy enrollment programs: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Virginia. New Mexico will launch its Easy Enrollment Program in 2023. Lawmakers are also working to establish similar programs in New Jersey, California, Maine, and Illinois. Plus, a bill was introduced in Congress late last year to put a similar program in place for federal tax returns.
Here is some additional information on how the programs currently work in each of the five states:
Maryland Easy Enrollment Program
Maryland was the first state to launch its Easy Enrollment Program in 2020. If you are uninsured in Maryland, you can check a box on your state tax return allowing the Comptroller of Maryland to share your information with the Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance Marketplace.
After you file your taxes, Maryland Health Connection will mail you a letter to explain whether or not you are eligible for free or low-cost health insurance. It is important to know that you will only have 35 days from the date written on your letter to sign up for a health plan. A certified navigator from the Maryland Health Connection may call you to help with enrollment.
Pennsylvania Easy Enrollment Program
Pennsylvania’s Easy Enrollment Program is called Path to Pennie and is launching this year for residents filing their 2021 state tax returns. If you are uninsured in Pennsylvania, while filing your state tax returns, you can complete form REV-1882 to request information about medical and dental insurance options on Pennie (the state’s health insurance Marketplace).
If you complete the form, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue will send your information to Pennie to create an online account for you. You will receive a letter from Pennie to let you know if you are eligible for low-cost marketplace coverage. It is important to know that you will have only 60 days from the date written on your letter to enroll in a plan. On the other hand, if Pennie determines that you are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, you will be automatically connected to those programs.
Massachusetts Easy Enrollment Program
Massachusetts’ Easy Enrollment Program is called Simple Sign-Up and is launching this year for residents filing their 2021 state tax returns. If you are uninsured in Massachusetts, while filing your state tax returns, you can check a box allowing the Department of Revenue to share your information with the Massachusetts Health Connector (the state’s health insurance Marketplace). The Health Connector will use this information to see if you are eligible and will contact you to discuss your health insurance options.
Colorado Easy Enrollment Program
Colorado’s Easy Enrollment Program is launching this year for residents filing their 2021 state tax returns. If you are uninsured in Colorado, you can check a box on your state tax return, agreeing to share your information with Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance Marketplace. Connect for Health Colorado will see if you are eligible for a low-cost Marketplace plan or free coverage through Health First Colorado (the state’s Medicaid program). If you are eligible for a Marketplace plan, you can enroll during a 60-day special enrollment period called Tax Time Enrollment.
Virginia Easy Enrollment Program
Virginia’s Easy Enrollment Program is launching this year for residents filing their 2021 state tax returns. If you are uninsured in Virginia, you can check a box on your state tax return, agreeing to share your information with the Department of Medical Assistance Services to see if you qualify for Medicaid. When the Virginia Health Benefit Exchange (the state’s health insurance Marketplace) launches in 2023, you will also be able to use the Easy Enrollment Program to see if you qualify for a low-cost Marketplace plan.
For more information about Medicaid, Marketplace plans, and other health insurance options, visit TriageCancer.org/HealthInsurance.
About Triage Cancer
Triage Cancer is a national, nonprofit providing free education to people diagnosed with cancer, caregivers, and health care professionals on cancer-related legal and practical issues. Through events, materials, and resources, Triage Cancer is dedicated to helping people move beyond diagnosis.
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