enrollment aides scramble to help those in coverage gap avoid federal penalty

Economic IndicatorsAssociated Press

Enrollment drives are being held across the country to help people beat Sunday's deadline to sign up for health insurance through the federal marketplace.

But in Texas and nearly two dozen other states where millions of people fall into a so-called coverage gap, the outreach effort has involved more than just signups.

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Nonprofits and other health groups are making sure these people know what steps to take to avoid a federal penalty for not having insurance.

About four million Americans fall into the coverage gap, earning too little to qualify for federal subsidies for private insurance but too much for Medicaid.

People in the gap can file for hardship exemptions. The U.S. Treasury estimates between 10 and 20 percent of taxpayers will claim an exemption.