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Tax Penalty At-a-Glance: Who Will Pay & How Much

By law, you need to have health insurance by 2014. If you already get insurance through your employer or your partner's employer, you're all set. But what happens if you don't follow this requirement from the Affordable Care Act?

Who Has to Pay and How Much Is It?

If you can afford health insurance and don't buy it, you'll pay a fine when you file your 2013 income taxes in April 2014.

For the first year of the new law, 2014, the fine for not having insurance is the lowest it will be. After that, it goes up steeply in 2015 and again in 2016.

In 2014: There are two ways the government calculates what you owe. You have to pay whichever amount is higher.

  • One way is to charge you $95 for each adult and $47.50 for each child, but not more than $285 total per family.
  • The other way is to fine you 1% of your family income. If your family makes $50,000 a year, the fine will be $500.

In 2015: There will still be two ways to calculate what you owe. You have to pay whichever amount is higher.

  • One way is to charge you $325 for each adult and $162.50 for each child, but no more than $975 total per family.
  • The other way is 2% of your family income. If your family makes $50,000 a year, the fine will be $1,000.

In 2016 and beyond: There will still be two ways to calculate what you owe. You have to pay whichever amount is higher.

  • One way is to charge you $695 for each adult and $347.50 for each child, but no more than $2,085 per family.
  • The other calculation is 2.5% of your family income. If your family makes $50,000 a year, the fine will be $1,250.

Don't Assume You Can't Afford Insurance

You can avoid having to pay the penalty by finding affordable insurance. See if you're eligible for financial help from the government by reading How to Avoid the Penalty & Afford Insurance (www.webmd.com/health-insurance/insurance-costs/avoid-tax-penalty-afford-insurance).

Make Sure the Law Applies to You

Some people are exempt from the health care law. That means they don't have to buy health insurance and don't have to pay a penalty. To learn more, see Who Won't Have to Pay for Insurance or a Penalty (www.webmd.com/health-insurance/insurance-costs/exempt-from-tax-penalties)

SOURCES:

Community Catalyst & Georgetown University Health Policy Institute: "Individual Requirement to Purchase Healthcare in the Affordable Care Act," "Standardizing Health Plans," "Federal Subsidies: Helping People Afford Health Care."

FamiliesUSA: "Help is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits."

Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation: "The Requirement to Buy Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act."

Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: "Fact Sheet: Individual Shared Responsibility for Health Insurance Coverage and Minimum Essential Coverage Proposed Rules."

Reviewed by Dean A. Rosen, JD on June 25, 2013

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.



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