Reminder to the Uninsured: Obamacare Fines are Coming

An important Obamacare deadline is approaching. People who don’t have health insurance have until February 15, 2015, to purchase a plan or they will face a hefty penalty doled out by the IRS in 2016, which will be either $325 per adult or 2% of a family’s income, depending on which is higher for an individual or family. The Hill notes that insurance companies are trying to remind people of this:


One recent mass mailer from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield obtained by The Hill warned potential customers in the Washington, D.C., region that going without health insurance coverage would come with a steep cost.

“When you don’t have health insurance … you put your financial security at risk,” the mailer states. “That’s because under the new Affordable Care Act legislation, millions of Americans will have to pay an increased penalty tax of at least 2 percent of their income in 2015 if they go uninsured.”

The “good news,” the letter said, is that CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has “solutions” to help people avoid the penalty, including coverage that is “compatible with financial assistance or free money from the government that will help qualifying individuals pay for insurance.”

The company declined to comment on the mailer.

The message is part of a shift in focus for the health insurance industry as ObamaCare continues a relatively smooth second year of enrollment.

But will it be enough? The ACA is so complicated and the government has done such a poor job of informing people of this impending fine that many are either ignorant of it or confused about what they must do. As the article continues:


The marketing around the healthcare law is taking flight at a time when surveys show the public remains deeply confused about the mandate.

Almost half of U.S. adults are unaware they must report their health insurance status on their 2014 tax returns, according to a TurboTax survey released earlier this month.

And while about three in five uninsured people know the law penalizes people without coverage, nearly 90 percent do not realize the 2014 deadline has already passed.

As a result, experts are urging insurers and the federal government to do more to emphasize the mandate this enrollment period.

Mendelson said the insurance industry is talking about the penalties more than last year, though the Obama administration has not yet adopted that approach.

It’s going to be interesting to see how people will react to the Obamacare tax, especially since it will be bigger than they were last year. Among the uninsured not qualifying for an exemption, some might just take some plan, any plan, to avoid the penalty. Others will choose to pay the fine instead of purchasing an exchange plan. An estimate from the Congressional Budget Office puts the latter number at about 4 million. My colleague Moe Lane made note of this a couple of months ago.


And once again, it’s time to hold Congress’ feet to the fire. With incoming Republican majorities in both houses this January, we must act on Obamacare, and there’s no better was to start things off than be pushing for a full repeal. Of course, even if it makes it out of Congress, we know the President will veto it, yet it’s important to set the tone that the PPACA is unacceptable. [mc_name name=’Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’B000589′ ] has already promised to hold a vote on it, but given his track record, we need to make sure he follows through with this promise. This is a fight we cannot give up.



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