Ignorance is no excuse.
This is the last week to choose a health plan under the Affordable Care Act if you want insurance coverage to begin by Jan. 1. And officials who have spent the past two years using the carrot of persuasion to get people to buy insurance through the state or federal exchanges say the time has come for the stick.
That stick is a hefty fine.
In 2016, the penalties reach their worst next year, with huge increases coming once again. The per-person charge in 2016 jumps to $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, topping out at a whopping $2,085 per family. The income-based penalty rises to 2.5%.
After that, increases will be more modest. The amount of the Obamacare penalty in 2017 and thereafter will be indexed to the Consumer Price Index, with maximums gradually rising over time.
According to National Public Radio
Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal insurance exchange HealthCare.gov, says he thinks the high fines will induce people who didn’t have insurance before to at least shop around before deciding to skip coverage again.
Counihan, who was director of marketing for the Massachusetts health exchange 10 years ago, says it was when the fines approached $1,000 that sign-ups jumped.
“It got people’s attention,” he tells Shots. “And there seemed to be more of a discussion in their head about whether it made sense to pay the penalty and not get something for it.”
“People understand generally that there’s a penalty,” Nicol says. “But the majority of the time they don’t know what that means — definitely not the amount of money that it is. There is a bit of shock of realizing, ‘Wow, if I don’t do this, I will likely be responsible for over $600 in penalties.”
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