Tonight is the deadline for East Texans to enroll in the health - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Tonight is the deadline for East Texans to enroll in the health insurance marketplace

Tax preparer Bobby Watts recalls narrowly meeting the health insurance application deadline to avoid 2014 tax penalties. (Source: KTRE Staff) Tax preparer Bobby Watts recalls narrowly meeting the health insurance application deadline to avoid 2014 tax penalties. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Bobby Watts discovered right down the street an unknown distant relative Willie Watts. He too is helping people avoid tax penalties. (Source: KTRE Staff) Bobby Watts discovered right down the street an unknown distant relative Willie Watts. He too is helping people avoid tax penalties. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Now, as tax season begins next week he’s warning customers about the 2015 deadlines and increased tax penalties. (Source: KTRE Staff) Now, as tax season begins next week he’s warning customers about the 2015 deadlines and increased tax penalties. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Tonight at midnight marks the end to the second open enrollment deadline for the 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace. There are just over four weeks before the final deadline and the end of open enrollment.

East Texas News found out the approaching tax season may lead to more customers signing up.

Tax preparer Bobby Watts distinctly remembers waiting minutes before the deadline to buy insurance for his wife in order to avoid 2014 tax penalties.

Bobby Watts has customers who ignored the deadline.

“Oh yes, yes,” Bobby Watts said. “Every customer that has come in and talked to me about their taxes before the filing date is really confused about this issue."

Bobby Watts went to the Health Insurance Marketplace for his own advice. He met for the first time his distant relative Willie Watts, a certified application counselor. Willie Watts helped Bobby Watts avoid the 2014 penalty.

“The penalty for 2014 is $95 or 1 percent of your adjusted gross income,” Willie Watts said.

Appreciative of the help, Bobby Watts will be sending confused customers to Willie Watts beginning next week.

“We'll start e-filing on the 20th, and so it's just around the corner,” Bobby Watts said.

Both men want to help taxpayers avoid the 2015 penalty. It climbs to $325 for any uninsured resident over age 18 in the household.

“The premium could be less than the penalty for $325,” Willie Watts said. “That's why we're trying to get the tax preparers to kind guide them toward us."

Need 2015 coverage? There's still time to act.

The final open enrollment deadline is Feb. 15.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 6.8 million consumers are enrolled for marketplace insurance. Over 859,000 Texans have the coverage. The Nacogdoches office estimates since January it has guided more than 600 on the plans.

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