For Immediate Release
July 1, 2015
Contact: Janel Davis, Communications Officer
Silver State Health Insurance Exchange
Nevada Health Link Assists Consumers with 2014 Coverage Exemption Issues
In its first year of operation, many of Nevada Health Link’s customers tried to enroll in health coverage but were not able to complete their enrollment because of technical difficulties with the exchange’s website. While that inability to enroll made it difficult for consumers to become insured, it created another problem as well: consumers who were not able to enroll in a health plan because of technology failures also found themselves receiving a notice from the federal government that they were subject to a tax penalty.
Bruce Gilbert, Executive Director of Nevada Health Link, acknowledged the widespread technical difficulties with the Xerox-developed eligibility and enrollment platform during that time period and noted that any affected consumers can secure an exemption from a financial penalty for not having coverage in place throughout that year.
“We have consulted with the Internal Revenue Service and confirmed that our consumers will not be punished for something over which they had no control,” said Gilbert. “Any Nevadan prevented from obtaining coverage due to a technology failure is eligible for an exemption from the individual responsibility penalty.”
According to Gilbert, the process for securing the exemption has not been well-publicized, leading to the exchange reaching out to its customers and Nevada’s agent and broker communities. “Most people think that the exemption is available through the filing of a hardship exemption form, but that’s not the case. The federal government will deny a hardship exemption for a technology failure because it is not one of the fourteen hardships specifically enumerated.”
Any consumer wishing to claim the exemption must file a Form 8965 with the IRS that includes a “G” under the exemption type column for every member of the household who tried to enroll in health insurance with Nevada Health Link during open enrollment or its special enrollment period. The exemption is automatically granted and no financial penalty will be assessed.
“Everyone understands that consumers may find the exemption process confusing,” said Janel Davis, Nevada Health Link’s Communications Officer. “That’s why we are putting detailed instructions on the Nevada Health Link website and reaching out through the media.”
Nevada Health Link is recommending that consumers who unsuccessfully tried to purchase coverage and have received notice of the imposition of a financial penalty talk to a tax professional. They can also call 1-855-7NVLINK (1-866-768-5465) for assistance or email Nevada Health Link at: CustomerSupport@nevadahealthlink.com.