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As Tax Filing Deadline Nears, MNsure Assisters and Tax Professionals Join Forces During Special Enrollment Period

3/24/2015 10:14:43 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jenni Bowring-McDonough
Media Relations Coordinator
jenni.bowring-mcdonough@state.mn.us
651.539.1976

ST. PAUL, Minn.-Minnesotans who need help figuring out if they are eligible for MNsure's special enrollment period can get free, in person assistance across the state starting this week. MNsure-certified navigators will be on-site at tax clinics-joined by tax professionals-to provide "one-stop-shopping" help with questions and enrollment.

Minnesotans who must pay the tax penalty for not having 2014 health insurance, and who have not secured 2015 coverage, can still enroll into coverage for 2015 during MNsure's limited-time special enrollment period. Getting enrolled during this special enrollment period, which runs until April 30, may substantially decrease the amount of a 2015 tax penalty they may have to pay, depending on when they complete enrollment.

Consumers who did not enroll into 2014 health care coverage will still be responsible for the 2014 tax penalty, but this special enrollment period will help minimize 2015 tax penalties for those who enroll.

"The special enrollment period has allowed us to connect with people who have not been reached by other outreach activities. Many of the people we meet at the tax sites are surprised by the tax penalty; either they did not know about the penalty or they did not realize it would apply to them," said Ralonda Mason, supervising attorney and MNsure-certified navigator at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid in Saint Cloud.

"Minnesotans are glad to have the ability to apply for coverage immediately, and the timing is good because the information they need to prepare their taxes is the same information needed to complete a health care application. Although we cannot help consumers reduce the penalty for 2014, they leave feeling good about the fact that they have minimized the tax penalty for 2015."

"The Northwest Indian OIC Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and MNsure-certified navigators from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe have forged a valuable partnership in getting our mutual clients enrolled into health insurance," said Theresa Flocken, volunteer tax preparer and economic opportunities program coordinator at Northwest Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center in Bemidji. "If I discover that a client does not have health insurance at the time I am filing their tax return, I can refer them directly to one of the MCT Navigators who have increased their on-site office hours at NWIOIC for the duration of the tax season. This provides a wonderfully convenient service for our clients."

"We are grateful for the partnerships among our assisters and Minnesota tax preparers. I invite Minnesotans to take advantage of these one-stop-shopping tax clinics to not only reduce their 2015 tax penalty, but just as importantly, to enroll into quality health coverage," added MNsure CEO Scott Leitz.

Any consumer with questions should call the MNsure Contact Center at 1-855-366-7873. More information about this special enrollment period is located online at MNsure.org.

Find assistance at the tax clinics listed below.

Salvation Army

  • Every Monday through April 13
  • 4 - 7 p.m.
  • 420 U.S. Highway 10 South, Saint Cloud
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Tax preparation services provided by Tri-County Action Program

Northwest Indian IOC

  • Every Monday and Tuesday through April 14
  • 1 - 6 p.m.
  • 520 4th Street NW, Bemidji
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Minnesota Chippewa Tribe Tax preparation services provided by Northwest Indian IOC

Duluth Public Library

  • Every Monday through April 27
  • 3 - 7 p.m.
  • 502 W. Superior Street, Duluth
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Insure Duluth
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers from UMD

Western Community Action

  • Every Monday through April 14
  • 5 - 8 p.m.
  • 164 East 2nd Street, Redwood Falls
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Western Community Action
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

Catholic Charities

  • Every Tuesday through April 14
  • 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • 157 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud;
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Tax preparation services provided by Tri-County Action Program

Western Community Action

  • Every Tuesday through April 15
  • 4:30 - 9 p.m.
  • 1400 South Saratoga Street, Marshall
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Western Community Action
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

Cold Spring District Education Facility

  • Wednesday, March 25
  • 9 - 11 a.m. (every Wednesday through April 15)
  • 534 5th Avenue North, Cold Spring
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Tax preparation services provided by Tri-County Action Program

Bii Gii Wiin Community Development Loan Fund

  • Wednesday, March 25
  • 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (every Wednesday through April 15)
  • 1113 E. Franklin Avenue, Suite 200, Minneapolis
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Health Access MN
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

Elk River Public Library

  • Wednesday, March 25
  • 4 - 7 p.m. (every Wednesday through April 15)
  • 13020 Orono Parkway, Elk River
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Tax preparation services provided by Tri-County Action Program

Western Community Action

  • Thursday, March 26 (every Thursday through April 9)
  • 12 - 9 p.m.
  • 115 South Highway, Jackson
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Western Community Action
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

Western Community Action

  • Thursday, March 26 (every Thursday through April 9)
  • 4:30 - 9 p.m.
  • 1400 South Saratoga Street, Marshall
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Western Community Action
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

St. Cloud Community and Technical College

  • Thursday, March 26
  • 5 - 7:30 p.m. (every Thursday through April 10)
  • 1540 Northway Drive, Door 6, St. Cloud
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers from Tri-County Action Program

Centro Tyrone Guzman

  • Saturday, March 28
  • 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • 1915 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Centro Tyrone Guzman
  • Tax preparation services provided by The Family Partnership
  • Services available in Spanish

Salvation Army

  • Saturday, March 28 (every Saturday through April 11)
  • 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • 420 U.S. Highway 10 South, Saint Cloud
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
  • Tax preparation services provided by Tri-County Action Program

Western Community Action

  • Saturday, March 28 (every Saturday through April 11)
  • 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  • 1400 South Saratoga Street, Marshall
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Western Community Action
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program

Duluth Public Library

  • Saturday, March 28
  • 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (every Saturday through April 25)
  • 502 W. Superior Street, Duluth
  • MNsure enrollment assistance provided by navigators from Insure Duluth
  • Tax preparation services provided by volunteers from UMD

Whether consumers are completing taxes with a professional preparer or doing so on their own, MNsure assisters are available to help Minnesotans enroll in coverage should they find they are facing a 2014 penalty and are without 2015 coverage. Check out MNsure's events calendar and /help/find-assister/index.jspassister directory to find partners statewide.

Open enrollment for 2015 coverage began November 15, 2014, and ended February 15, 2015. Minnesotans eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll year-round. As of May 2014, 95 percent of Minnesotans have health coverage-the highest percentage in state history. The 2016 open enrollment period is scheduled to begin November 1, 2015, and end on January 31, 2016.

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