I’m going to keep hoping that Obamacare gets repealed, or at least changed dramatically before it’s too late. I really hate the requirement that I am forced to buy health insurance. I have it from my job, but I still object. Does absolutely everyone have to have a plan, under the law?
Red Hot Mad Republican
Dear Red Hot Mad Republican,
No, not everyone has to have health insurance under the health reform law. There are several exceptions to the “individual mandate”. The law allows people to go without health insurance if they:
- Have a religious objection
- Are American Indians
- Go uninsured for less than three months
- Are undocumented immigrants
- Are in prison
- Would spend more than 8% of their income on the lowest cost plan or would have a financial hardship to buy a plan
- Have income below certain (low) levels.
Even if you do not qualify for an exception, you can still go without health insurance. You would then have to pay the tax (formerly called the “penalty”). The tax will be $95 in 2014 or one percent of your taxable income, and $325 in 2015 or two percent of your taxable income. In 2016, the tax goes to $695 or two and a half percent of your taxable income.
That might be tough to swallow for a Republican. On the bright side, if the market responds as experts anticipate, your insurance should become cheaper over time – or at least, cheaper than it would have been, if nothing had changed.