Many Americans Would Rather Pay the Fine Than Get Coverage

Thirty-eight percent of Americans would rather pay a fine than buy health insurance, according to a survey by The survey reveals the following:
• 65% of Americans from 18 to 29 would buy health insurance versus 57% of Americans 30 and older.
• 78% of African Americans would buy health insurance versus 61% of Hispanics and 56% of Caucasians.
• 74% of Democrats would buy health insurance versus 40% of Republicans and 56% of independents.

The results reflect Americans’ responses to a hypothetical scenario (a 45-year-old who earns $50,000 a year). A typical health plan would cost this person $3,000 a year. If this person did not buy health insurance, the fine would be $400.

Laura Adams,’s senior analyst said, “One of the key questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act is whether young Americans — especially healthy young Americans — will sign up for health insurance. This research sheds a positive light on that segment of the population, but it’s concerning that about three in 10 Americans still don’t know about the possible fines.”

Most Americans are confused about the penalty amounts. The penalty would be $200 for a person who earns $30,000 a year. Only 21% of Americans who know that uninsured people will be fined correctly pegged the amount at $100 to$250 (38% overestimated and 36% underestimated). The penalty would be $650 for a person who earns $75,000 a year. Only 21% of Americans who know about fines correctly pegged the amount at $500 to $1,000 (46% underestimated and 29% overestimated).

Almost eight in 10 Americans who know about fines incorrectly think that children under the age of 18 are exempt from fines. Six in 10 falsely believe that senior citizens over the age of 65 are exempt. Only 64% correctly said the fine would come from their federal income tax refund. For more information, visit

Last Updated 08/10/2022

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