It may seem like a clever idea to save yourself cash by not purchasing health insurance, but with Obamacare kicking in, you’ll have penalties to pay, which could cost you big bucks in the long run.
Not only are you playing financial Russian roulette – you could be forking out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars if you’re injured in an accident or become seriously ill – you’ll also have to pay a penalty to the federal government for flouting the law, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars more.
A wiser decision if you’re uninsured is to start shopping on your state health exchange, which opened Tuesday — with glitches – as a key part of health care reform.
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has information in the video below about the penalties you’ll face if you ignore the law. Check it out, then continue reading for more details about health reform.
It’s OK if you feel at a loss about the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obamacare. You’re not alone. A newly released survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that only 4 in 10 adults were aware of the health exchanges and the financial subsidies available to help cover costs when you buy insurance there, and only one-third of those without insurance were aware of the new way to shop for health insurance.
In the first quarter of the year, 46 million Americans didn’t have health insurance, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The establishment of the state health exchanges, or insurance marketplaces, is designed to reduce the number of uninsured.
Who needs insurance?
Starting next year, almost everyone will need to be insured. You can purchase that insurance on your own or through the exchange, have it through your employer, or have it provided by government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, TRICARE and veterans health insurance programs.
There are some limited exceptions, such as for those who earn a very low income or are members of certain religious groups, as shown in this graphic by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
While you can start shopping for insurance on a state exchange now, the policies don’t take effect until Jan. 1.
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