Health care reforms under the affordable care act officially kicked in at the start of the new year. Under the act, everyone must have health coverage or face a penalty fee.
You can elect not to have health coverage, but because the affordable care act requires it, you’ll be penalized. You may find yourself asking, if the penalty fee is less money than paying for coverage.
Senior manager at ACAP Torry Eaton says, ”the fees are going to be 95 dollars a person, for a penalty, or 285 dollars for a family, or 1 percent of you house hold income, which ever is more.”
Those fees will apply if you don’t have health insurance by March 31st of this year. Eaton says a lot of people think it’s only 95 dollars and they’ll just go ahead a pay that over paying for insurance.
Eaton says, ” It goes up from there, there’s probably only a few people that will pay the 95 dollars, and that’s just the first year.”
Eaton pulled some information for us and says the next year, the penalty fee goes up to 395 dollars per adult, and up to 885 for a family or 2 percent of the house hold income. And that’s only the second year of fees. The third year goes up to 695 dollars per adult, up to 2,085 dollars for a family or 2.5 percent of the house hold income…..”and, what it does after that, they haven’t really put out a chart for what the numbers will be but they’ll go up according to inflation,” according to Eaton.
The fees will reflect on your federal income taxes, which means from now on, when you file your taxes, you’ll have to prove that you have health insurance. Coverage of course varies for each person or family.
“What they’re doing is they’re calculating those minimum family amounts like the 285 dollars for the first year, they’re calculating that that’s about the average to cover a family…” Eaton adds.
Eaton says overall, it will cost less to have coverage, than to pay the penalty fees. Anyone can enroll for health insurance through their employer, or the the new federal program through Healthcare.gov.