You Must Make A Decision on Health Care Insurance…Soon!


affordable care actIn less than six months, you may have to make one of the most important decisions of your life: which health insurance plan to choose for you and/or your family. Although millions of people have ‘solved’ this problem by choosing not to carry insurance at all, it won’t be an option, come January 1st.

By then, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘Obamacare,’ for its presidential signature (signed into law on 2010), will go strongly into effect. Some of it already has, in the form of clauses like dependent insurance. (Kids can now stay on their parents’ plans through their 26th birthday.) A ‘temporary high-risk’ group was formed, for patients with preexisting conditions, as well as a number of other items.

So why is this so important?  Because as of January 1, “Individuals who are not covered by an acceptable insurance policy will be charged an annual penalty of $95.” This penalty increases to 1% of income over the filing minimum, whichever is greater, by 2016. This could mean penalties of as much as $700 for singles, or $2000-plus for families. (Some leeway will be granted for religious reasons and those whose policies would be more than 8% of their total income.)

Great — extra money spent, and still no health insurance.

Fortunately, there are some possibilities, particularly because of the Health Care and Reconciliation Act, also signed into law by President Obama two years ago. As of October 1, a variety of subsidized healthcare plans are supposed to be available to the U.S. citizen, according to the Act. Health insurance exchangesor marketplaces, will be set up by the states or privately for people to purchase insurance, and will go into effect by Jan. 1. Payment is set by the OPL, or ‘official poverty level,’ which currently stands at nearly $12,000 for a single person, and about $24,000 for a family of four. Those with incomes 133-400% of the official poverty level can use subsidies in the form of tax credits.

So what’s going to happen, come 2014? 

We don’t know for sure. The House did recently repeal the law. (But — and this is important — the Senate hasn’t. And isn’t likely to.) It seems inevitable that whatever happens, Americans will soon have to choose a health insurance plan, whether or not they like it or not. And somehow, unless their employers cover the cost, they’ll have to come up with the extra money to cover premiums.

Get ready to decide.

Scroll to Top