A key enrollment deadline for health insurance that begins on January 1st quickly came and went. Still, many of uninsured Americans have no idea whether or not they need to enroll. While you will not be penalized if for not having health insurance by January 1st, you could face a fine if you fail to enroll before March 31, 2014. Nearly everyone who can afford a health insurance plan is required by law to purchase a plan before that date.
As it stands now, if you can afford insurance but choose not to obtain health coverage you’ll likely be subject to a fine of $95 per person in your household or 1% of your household’s income, whichever is greater. Only people with hardship exemptions are not required to purchase a plan. It’s also important to note, that if you choose to pay the tax penalty instead of purchasing a plan, you’ll be responsible for the entire cost of your medical care.
Brace for Increases
On April 1, when the penalties begin, they will start small and rise on a tiered scale up until 2016.
Families — $285 or 1% of total household income, whichever is greater.
Individual adults — $95 or 1% of total household income.
Families — $975 or 2% of income, whichever is greater.
Families — $2,085 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater.
Individual adults — $695 or 2.5% of income.
The penalty tax will grow with inflation after that (rounded down to multiples of $50). By 2023, it will hit a projected $800. And the percentage of income penalty also grows—to 2 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent after that.
There are only a few months left until the March 31st enrollment deadline. While there is still time to weigh your options, be sure not to miss the deadline because once open enrollment ends, you’ll have to wait until next year’s enrollment period to purchase a plan. Only people with a qualifying life event are allowed to purchase a plan outside of open enrollment.
To compare your health insurance options, visit the GoHealth Marketplace.