The Costs of Remaining Uninsured: Navigating the Affordable Care Act

NavigatingSome consumers will pay the penalty instead of buying insurance through the exchange. But they should consider the long-term financial benefits of having health insurance, according a blog entry by Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP.

Facing the choice to get insurance or pay a penalty, they may resort to simple math and conclude that $95 is a lot more affordable than the $3,000 or $4,000 for the lowest level of insurance coverage available on the state exchanges. However, Blayney advises Americans to consider several factors before deciding to pay the federal penalty and forego health insurance:

• You Risk penalties for having no insurance: In 2014, uninsured Americans will have to get health insurance or pay a penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. In 2015, the penalty rises to $325 per adult (half as much for each child) or 2% of income, whichever is greater. The penalties rise even further in 2016 and beyond.

 You risk huge medical costs due to an accident: Being young and healthy does not vaccinate you from the kind of risk that can leave you and your family destitute.

You May have limited access to quality medical care when you do need it:  Some providers may simply decline you as a patient when they find out that you are uninsured.

• You will be more likely to neglect the routine, preventative procedures: If you are unwilling to pay for insurance, you’ll probably skip the high cost of an annual check-up or routine procedures. It will cost more for the uninsured to get health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Last Updated 10/14/2020

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