Obamacare Fines: Penalties You Will Face if You Don’t Sign Up for Insurance

People who don't buy insurance under Obamacare will face fines. Here, Justine Covington receives a flu shot Jeffrey Daniel, a nurse at Fourth Street Clinic Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in Salt Lake City. In Utah and across the country, new online insurance marketplaces are scheduled to open for business Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 as part of the new federal health overhaul. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

In Obamacare, you will face a fine if you don’t have insurance, unless you qualify for an exemption.

The fine for 2014 is $95 per person or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater.

However, by 2016 the fines are up to $695 per year, or 2.5 percent of income. For families, the tax is 2.5 percent of income or $2,085, whichever is greater.

The fines are also known as income tax penalty.

According to Obamacare Facts, “The requirement can be waived for several reasons, including financial hardship or religious beliefs. If the tax would exceed 8% of your income you are exempt, also some religious groups are exempt. That tax cannot exceed the cost of a ‘bronze plan’ bought on the exchange.”

There are four types of coverage–bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The bronze has the lowest premiums but the highest out-of-pocket costs; the platinum has the highest premiums but the lowest out-of-pocket costs

Other imposed “fines” that are part of Obamacare:

-People making more than $200,000 will have Medicare payroll taxes increase from 1.45 percent of income to 2.35 percent. 

-Small businesses with over 50 employees have to insure their employees or pay a penalty–$2,000 per employee

-An annual $63 fee levied by ObamaCare on all plans (decreased each year until 2017 when pre-existing conditions are eliminated) to help pay for insurance companies covering the costs of high-risk pools.

While Obamacare forces health insurance providers to not deny coverage for major health problems, it will take a while for insurance to kick in. In other words, you can’t just buy insurance when you need it.

Coverage people buy starting Oct. 1 of this year takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.

However, the cutoff for coverage beginning in January is Dec. 15, a date that is worrying state officials.

There could be a “big bottleneck” around that December deadline, said Jon Peacock, research director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.

“Waiting until then is really going to be a mess,” he said.

To help alleviate a possible crunch, the state sent notices last week to those expected to lose Medicaid coverage, telling them they may not be covered. The letters will be followed up by phone calls in October and a second notice in late November.

State officials and advocates are advising anyone who receives a notice to go to the marketplace now for a determination of their Medicaid eligibility. The federally run exchange uses the 2014 criteria and will direct them back to the state for Medicaid services if they qualify.

“Our goal is to have uninterrupted coverage for members, so we are pushing for individuals to enroll by Dec. 15,” state Department of Health Services spokeswoman Stephanie Smiley said.

The soonest anyone who misses the Dec. 15 deadline could have coverage begin is Feb. 1. Open enrollment continues through March 31. After that, unless there is a change in family status, employment, income or other qualifying event, no one can sign up for insurance until October 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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