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Obamacare “fine”: If you can’t afford health insurance. Relax.

obamacare-cartoon-2-a

From Consumer Reports:

Please let me put your mind at ease. First of all, if you can’t afford health insurance you won’t have to pay a fine, ever.

Update – 11/9/2012 – Now that the election is over and the Affordable Healthcare Act will go into effect, people are going to be searching for more information about it. NBC News has just published an Obamacare guide post-election that I suggest people read.

Update – 2/10/13 – Consumer Reports just published a new post about the Affordable Healthcare Act titled: How am I supposed to afford health insurance? The scenario presented is that of someone making $35,000 a year. Their employer does not offer health insurance and they state that they won’t be able to afford to pay a fine or purchase health insurance on their own.

To answer this question, Consumer Reports said:

To get a rough idea of what you might pay in 2014, check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s online subsidy calculator. If you are single, age 40, and making $35,000 a year, you’ll qualify for a subsidy of about $98 a month, which will be paid directly to the health plan you choose. You would then choose a “tier” of coverage. They are, in descending order of generosity, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. If you buy a midpriced silver plan (the only type the Kaiser calculator includes), you’ll be expected to pay an additional $277 a month yourself. Like all plans sold on the exchange, it would provide comprehensive coverage of all types of medical care.

It seems that the federal government is providing enough of a subsidy to help make purchasing healthcare affordable for someone making over the poverty line. Of course if you earn below the poverty line you are eligible for Medicaid.

There is also a bronze plan:

You can also opt for a less costly bronze plan, in which case your $98 subsidy will cover a larger share of your premium. The trade-off is a higher deductible, copays, and/or coinsurance. If your share of the premium for the cheapest bronze plan on your exchange is more than 8 percent of your income–which in your case works out to about $233 a month– you’ll be exempt from paying a fine for not having health insurance.

Lastly, there is a catastrophic insurance plan. Which covers preventative health and gives you three primary doctor visits a year. There is also a $6,250 deductible with this plan. In the end I would have preferred single-payer health insurance, but any  system that gets more people insured is welcome. There are simply far too many people falling through the cracks right now.

Update – 5/27/13 – I just came across an article in Forbes talking about a critic who is now reversing his opinion on Obamacare’s premiums.

For quite some time, I have been predicting that Obamacare would likely mean higher insurance rates in the individual market for the “young immortals” and others under the age of 40.  At the same time, my expectation was that those who fall into the older age ranges would benefit greatly as their premium charges would be lowered thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

It is increasingly clear that I had it wrong.

He’s reversing his opinion after seeing what the premiums will be for the health insurance exchange that California has just set up.

Upon reviewing the data, I was indeed shocked by the proposed premium rates—but not in the way you might expect.  The jolt that I was experiencing was not the result of the predicted out-of-control premium costs but the shock of rates far lower than what I expected—even at the lowest end of the age scale.

The reason that rates haven’t skyrocketed is because health insurance companies are bidding low in order to gain market share. They want these new customers.

Update – 9/25/13 – Here’s an interesting tweet I saw today in the wake of the Republican obstructionism on shutting down the government over funding Obamacare.

via I can’t afford health insurance, so how can the government make me buy it?.

9 comments
cal3301
cal3301

Yeah real affordable. Just filled out their calculator. If you're 60. Make 12,000. You don't get a subsidy. Have to pay out of pocket 7,647 leaving less than 5000 the rest of the year. Thank God I'm healthly, I'll go without!

Trudy Gallaway
Trudy Gallaway

My job offers insurance but i can't afford it and be able to pay my bills. So where does this leave me?

Sandy Kuhn- Kolhagen
Sandy Kuhn- Kolhagen

Oh yeah....and I'm going to believe NBC News? I think I'll read the plan instead.

Melodyman747
Melodyman747

all this is smoke and mirrors to cause civil unrest I am part of the 100% because we are all in this together stand back and look at the bigger picture

wfpman
wfpman

Running your scenario in the calculator it seems you would still get coverage with the bronze or sliver plan and the out of pocket cost in the silver plan is not as high at the number you were using. Check this out: http://www.4shared.com/office/EnrRveWj/for60.html

Jason Gooljar
Jason Gooljar

@trudy gallaway if you can't afford the insurance your job offers you're going to want to look into what your state offers. Depending on your income level you will either qualify for Medicaid or you will be able to buy a plan on that state's health insurance exchange once it is live.

Jason Gooljar
Jason Gooljar

Sandy, I"m just curious. If you don't believe NBC News what organization do you take the word of?

cal3301
cal3301

The calculator I used was the one that they posted on huff post. The bronze plan on that one is what gave me the 7,647. That really doesn't give you much to live on. Having a problem getting your site to come up though.

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