WASHINGTON (WNEW) — During this tax season, many people are discovering there is a penalty for not having health insurance last year.

Although open enrollment has ended, there’s still a chance to get covered this year and avoid another, even larger penalty next year.

“We know that despite all of our efforts to get the message out about the importance of getting coverage, that this is still a new program,” says Carolyn Quattrocki, the executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “A lot of people hadn’t heard about the tax penalty and won’t realize that they’re facing it until they sit down to do their taxes.”

Health exchanges around the country have created a special enrollment period for those people who weren’t aware of the penalty.

The enrollment period runs March 15 to April 30.

WNEW’s Sarah Jacobs contributed to this report. Follow her and WNEW on Twitter.

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