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Who Must Have Insurance Under the New Health Care Law?

Starting in 2014 almost all U.S. residents must have at least basic health insurance. “Insurance” means coverage from employers or public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Affairs or insurance you buy on your own.

  • If you remain uninsured, you’ll be required to pay a penalty of $95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater, in 2014, rising to $695 or 2.5 percent of your income in 2016 and later. The penalties apply to each uninsured adult in the household, with a $2,085 annual limit for families.
  • You will not be fined for going without insurance if your income is so low you don’t have to file taxes; if premiums for the cheapest insurance plan available would cost more than 8 percent of your income; if you can demonstrate financial hardship; or if you’re an American Indian, qualify for a religious exemption or are in prison.
  • The government cannot seize your property or use liens to enforce the law, or send you to jail.


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