Tax procrastinators urged to file now to avoid loss of health care subsidies; backstop readied

Sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law doesn't start for another couple of months, but the next few days are crucial for hundreds of thousands of customers who risk losing financial aid when they renew for 2016.

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Call them tardy tax filers: an estimated 1.8 million households that received subsidies last year but failed to file a 2014 tax return as required by the law, or left out key paperwork.

Insurers and the IRS say those who keep procrastinating are taking chances with their subsidies. A monthly premium of $90 could suddenly turn into a bill for $360.

Government officials say they have a backstop that should help many. But the best way returning customers can avoid hassles is to file their taxes correctly by Monday, Aug. 31.