The Tax Penalty Won’t Push People to Buy Health Insurance

TaxPenaltyTwo-thirds of people surveyed by HealthPocket say a $95 IRS penalty for being uninsured won’t motivate them to buy insurance. Nearly 30% are not sure whether the penalty will motivate them to buy insurance, and only 8% say it would.

Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires consumers to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty, with some exceptions for people with financial hardships or religious beliefs that preclude them from purchasing health insurance, among others.

The tax penalty starts at $95 per individual or 1% of household income, whichever is greater. By 2016, the penalty rises to 2.5% of annual household income or a minimum of $695 per person, whichever is greater. Bruce Telkamp, CEO of HealthPocket said, “The law will be most effective if consumers see real value in obtaining the insurance coverage. Only insurers that offer high quality and affordable health plans should expect to see significant new enrollments this fall.”

The tax penalty is not the only strategy that Obamacare will use to promote enrollment. Some premium and out-of-pocket assistance is available for individuals making less than 400% of the federal poverty level or $45,960. However, 63% of consumers who fall in this income band say a tax penalty will not motivate them, indicating that that they need more outreach. For more information,

Last Updated 05/25/2022

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