Obamacare Coverage Penalty To Double For Uninsured Americans As Deadline Looms

Obamacare Coverage Penalty To Double For Uninsured Americans As Deadline Looms

The Obamacare coverage penalty is due to double for those of you who haven’t signed up by Jan. 31, 2016.  You now run the risk of steep fines on your 2016 taxes.

Ashley Hentze, left, of Lakeland, Fla., gets help signing up for the Affordable Care Act from Kristen Nash, a volunteer with Enroll America, a private, non-profit organization running a grassroots campaign to encourage people to sign up for health care, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in Tampa, Fla.  After months of build-up, Florida residents can start shopping for health insurance on government-run online marketplaces as the key component of the Affordable Care Act goes live. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (UPI) — As people scramble to meet the Tuesday deadline for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, they are also faced with another type of pressure: a steep penalty for ignoring the insurance mandate.

For those who want healthcare coverage to begin Jan. 1, 2016, or to continue their 2015 coverage, they must sign up by Tuesday. Those who haven’t signed up by Jan. 31, 2016, run the risk of fines on their 2016 taxes.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates the average tax penalty will increase to $969, or nearly double from the previous year. The penalties are estimated at 2.5 percent of family income or up to $695 for individuals.

Kevin Counihan, CEO of the federal insurance exchange HealthCare.gov, said the high fines may encourage people who didn’t have insurance before to shop around before deciding to skip coverage.

“It got people’s attention,” he said. “And there seemed to be more of a discussion in their head about whether it made sense to pay the penalty and not get something for it.”

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