Uninsured Not Sure They’ll Comply With Obamacare, Survey Says

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A new survey shows widespread confusion about the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires everyone to purchase health insurance by Jan. 1 or pay a penalty, but a new survey indicates that many of the uninsured still aren’t sure about getting coverage.

InsuranceQuotes.com released the survey, which initially included 1,001 adults, 134 of whom were uninsured. They interviewed an additional 152 uninsured adults to get better data.

Among the uninsured, 64 percent said they had not yet decided to purchase insurance, 19 percent planned to acquire coverage by the deadline, and 10 percent planned to simply pay the penalty for not buying it. That penalty starts small, but gets bigger over time, the site says:

In 2014 [the penalty] is the greater of $95 or 1 percent of income for an adult.  For children under 18, the penalty is half the adult amount. The penalty increases each year, up to the greater of $695 or 2.5 percent of household income for an adult in 2016. And a family would pay a maximum of the greater of $2,085 or 2.5 percent of income then, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Here are some additional findings from the survey:

  • 61 percent of the uninsured said they don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it.
  • 58 percent aren’t sure if they qualify for tax credits that will lower their insurance costs under Obamacare.
  • 68 percent of those with incomes under $30,000 a year are not sure of their eligibility.
  • 61 percent of Americans believe Obamacare will increase the cost of health care.

Tax credits will be available to households with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, Healthcare.gov says. That is currently $45,960 for an individual or $94,200 for a family of four, Families USA says.

You can estimate the size of your potential tax credit with the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator.

For an individual making $30,000 a year, Kaiser says minimum coverage would cost about $1,964 per year after a $538 tax credit — working out to a monthly payment of about $165. (Although it’s worth noting that someone with minimum coverage would face higher out-of-pocket costs.)

Stacy Johnson

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