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Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell joined Roland Martin Thursday on “NewsOne Now” to discuss this year’s Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline. The last day to sign up for healthcare coverage and avoid a penalty is Sunday, February 15, 2015.

According the Burwell, about 10 million Americans have signed up for health care coverage during the open enrollment period and have been either new signups or part of the re-enrollment coming back from last year.

In the event that you do not sign up for a Qualified Health Plan there is a penalty. Burwell explained the tax penalty in 2015 for failure to sign up for health coverage is $235 or 2 percent of your taxable.

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Sec. Burwell encouraged viewers to enroll on or before Feb. 15 to avoid penalties and said there would not be another open enrollment period until the fall. “If you have a special circumstance, you have a child, you change your job, you move state to state, there is a special enrollment period for life changes like that.”

 If you have enrolled by February 15, your health care coverage begins March 1, 2015.

For individuals who live in states where Medicaid expansion has not taken place and they can not qualify for the Affordable Care Act, Sec. Burwell told Martin these individuals will not be penalized.

Burwell acknowledged there are individuals who can not afford coverage. In those cases Sec. Burwell said, “People who are above the poverty line, but still may have a situation where they can’t afford coverage because as a percentage of their income it would be too expensive, there are no fees.”

“You’re also exempt from the fee if certain life things have happened this year. If you have been part of a natural disaster, there are exemptions from the fee.

“For millions and millions of Americans in terms of the affordability issue, we know that in the marketplace, eight out of ten people in the marketplace qualify for financial assistance,” Burwell continued.

She added these individuals qualify for $268 of financial assistance per month, per person to help them with their premium costs. According to Sec. Burwell, this would bring their monthly premium costs down to approximately $105 per month.

Watch Martin and Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell discuss the Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline and how to avoid penalties for not having health care coverage in the video clip above. Sec. Burwell also details a number of special circumstances where you may qualify for health care coverage or may be exempt from the tax penalty.

To register for the Affordable Care Act visit HealthCare.govOpen enrollment ends Sunday, February 15.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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