I’ve heard at work that next year, everyone will automatically be enrolled in the health plan. It’s required under Obamacare, apparently. I do not want to be in the plan. Can I refuse to join?
Prefer Not To
Dear Prefer Not To,
Yes, you are allowed to refuse to be covered by the employer’s plan. The automatic enrollment is required for employers who have 200 or more employees. The theory is that automatic enrollment will ensure that getting covered is the “default”. So, you will have to take steps to avoid being enrolled. Your employer may ask you for proof of coverage elsewhere, which you may or may not have. The insurance carrier wants this, in order to know that people are not dropping out for other reasons. Even if you do not have coverage elsewhere, you can still refuse to join the employer’s plan. It is your choice.
If you do not have any health coverage, however, you will face the tax charges. 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.