Thursday, August 15, 2013

Uninsured next year? Here's your Obamacare penalty

Thinking of ignoring the Obamacare mandate to get health insurance next year? It could cost you. To try to ensure that people sign up for coverage, the Affordable Care Act carries complex penalties for those who remain uninsured that could cost them hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Some 6 million people could be hit with these fines in 2016, forking $7 billion over to the federal government, according to the Congressional Buget Offfice.

Here's how the penalties will work: Uninsured adults will either pay a flat fee for themselves and their children or pay a share of their income, whichever is greater. The penalty is pro-rated if people have coverage for part of the year, and they won't be liable if they lack coverage for less than a three-month period during the year.

The penalties start relatively small, but ramp up within a few years. But there is a limit. They cannot exceed the national average premium for bronze coverage -- the cheapest plan tier -- in the state-based exchanges.

For 2014, the flat fee is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 per family. Or the penalty could be 1% of family income, if that results in a larger fine. (Income is defined as total income above the filing threshold, which is $10,000 for an individual and $20,000 for a family in 2013.)

So a person making $50,000 would be subject to a $400 penalty, while a couple earning that amount would each pay $300. Read more >>
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