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Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

Individual Healthcare Mandate

Many people are talking about the Individual Health Care Mandate and what it will mean for the future of health insurance. While many questions still need to be answered about exactly how the individual health care mandate will play out form state to state, there are some things that we know will be true as a result on this law.

Under this law, in 2014, virtually everyone will be required to have health insurance in the United States. If you do not have coverage you will have to pay a fine or tax. This means that everyone will need to have an employer sponsored plan, private plan, or governmental plan. For people who have health insurance through an employer or their own plan, they will not need to make any changes. However, if you do not have health insurance or know you soon won't have health insurance, under this mandate, you will have to get it.

For people who do not have health insurance, new state based health insurance exchanges will be created that should help people find more affordable care. In these marketplaces you will be able to find many types of plans and compare them to find one that works for you and that you can afford. Additionally all the plans will have to offer a minimum amount of coverage.

Additionally, families who earn between 133%-400% of the federal poverty level will earn tax credits to help pay for insurance costs. In 2012 this meant that any individual who makes between $15000 and $45000 would receive a tax credit and families who earn between $30,800-$99,000 would receive a tax credit. Additionally Medicare coverage will be expanded so that more people can use it. If you do not earn enough money to pay taxes or more than 8% of your income would go towards insurance costs, you will not be fined if you do not get insurance. However, you would be eligible for free or reduced cost insurance at that income level.

Penalties for Failing to Get Insurance

Under the current version of the law there will be mandatory taxes/fees that must be paid if you fail to get health insurance. For individuals this penalty will be $95 for an individual and $47.50 for a child in 2014. This amount cannot exceed $235 or 1% of your total income. In 2015, these penalties will increase to $325 for each individual and $162.50 for each child. No family would pay more than $975 or 2% of their income as a penalty. Finally in 2016, the penalty will increase to $695 per individual and $347.50 per child, not to exceed $2,085 or 2.5% of income. The penalties will then increase yearly based on the average cost of living.

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