WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is gearing up for a late-stage rush of individuals seeking to purchase health insurance coverage that will take effect before the beginning of the New Year.
A group of senior administration officials, who insisted on speaking anonymously even to describe forthcoming activities, said at a Thursday briefing that they have put 800 new agents at call centers to help with the expected rush of enrollments before the Dec. 23 deadline for coverage on Jan. 1.
Remember - You must have signed up with some sort of health insurance by January 1st to avoid the tax penalty! This is mandatory for all Americans, well... almost all. The Administration has constantly revised and changed some of the mandates and deadlines, but they have been steadfastly adhering to the "Individual Mandate".
The penalty in 2014 and beyond
The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of 2 ways. You’ll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:
1% of your yearly household income. The maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.
$95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.
The fee increases every year. In 2015 it’s 2% of income or $325 per person. In 2016 and later years it’s 2.5% of income or $695 per person. After that it is adjusted for inflation.
If you’re uninsured for just part of the year, 1/12 of the yearly penalty applies to each month you’re uninsured. If you’re uninsured for less than 3 months, you don’t have a make a payment.
Learn more about the individual responsibility payment from the Internal Revenue Service.
Enroll by March 31, 2014 and you won’t have to make the individual shared responsibility payment
If you enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace by March 31, 2014, you won’t have to make the payment for any month before your coverage began.
For example, if you enroll in a Marketplace plan on March 31 your coverage begins on May 1. If you didn’t have coverage earlier in the year, you won’t have to pay a penalty for any of the previous months of 2014.
If you pay the penalty, you're not covered
It's important to remember that someone who pays the penalty doesn't have any health insurance coverage. They still will be responsible for 100% of the cost of their medical care.
After open enrollment ends on March 31, 2014, they won't be able to get health coverage through the Marketplace until the next annual enrollment period, unless they have a qualifying life event.