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How much will I be fined if I don't get insurance?


Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

HHS (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
14 Answers
4,556 Helpful Votes
Well, ... in 2014, two very important rules change. The most important is that insurance companies will be forbidden by law from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing health conditions. Right now, insurance companies can lock people out of the market or price people out of the market. That will no longer be allowed come 2014. People will, with a pre-existing health condition, be able to buy coverage, be able to participate in a pool. In order to make sure that that happens, and that we have a solvent insurance pool, there is an additional feature that says everyone needs to participate. So most people right now have access to employer-based coverage, or indeed carry their own coverage, or they qualify for a public program.  A limited number of people are not in those categories at all, and most of those folks don't have the finances to buy insurance coverage on their own, so starting in 2014, there will be a personal responsibility provision that says everybody needs to participate. If you are in the exchange and need some financial assistance based on your income, that will be available. If you have employer coverage, you're covered. If you are purchasing insurance on your own, you'll have an opportunity to purchase that coverage in the insurance exchange. If you qualify for public programs, you're covered. So we think that the vast majority of people, and this has been the case in Massachusetts where they have an exchange set up with very similar rules, the vast majority of people who don't have insurance really would love to have coverage for themselves and their families, they just can't afford it. And those days will be over. If indeed somebody can afford coverage when we get to 2014 and refuses to pay for coverage, there is a financial penalty and it's really paying for the health service that that person and their family may well access. What we know is if someone has an automobile accident and is taken to a hospital, they're going to get health care. If they have a stroke or if a family member has cancer, they will have health care. They just will be shifting those costs onto everyone else, onto taxpayers, and hospitals and everyone who buys coverage. So there is an employer responsibility piece, there is a government responsibility piece, and there's an individual responsibility component of the new health care law.

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