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Will I have to buy individual health insurance in 2014? Consumer Q&A

By on January 11th, 2013
Filed: Consumers, Facts, Health Reform, You

Are you sure you understand what health reform is going to require of you in 2014? A consumer survey we sponsored about a year ago found that more than half of Americans consider themselves uninformed about Obamacare.

2013 is the last year before the big provisions of the health reform law kick in. We’ve talked a lot about the 2014 provisions of the law (you can read a basic summary here), but there’s a long way to go in terms of consumer education.

For example, last week on Yahoo Answers we took a question from someone who wanted to know if he was going to be required to purchase health insurance in 2014. He already pays Medicare taxes on his paycheck, he said, doesn’t that mean he won’t need to buy coverage?

The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:

Paying payroll taxes (for Medicare, Social Security, etc.) doesn’t mean you won’t be required to purchase health insurance on your own in 2014…

If you do not have health insurance through an employer and do make more than 133% of the federal poverty level, you will fall under the “mandate” and be required to purchase health insurance on your own in January next year. However, you may qualify for government-subsidies to help make it more affordable. If you earn between 133%-400% of the federal poverty level (around $92,000 for a family of four in 2012 dollars), you will qualify for subsidies that will reduce your annual cost for health insurance to between 3 percent and 9 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Starting in 2014, if you do fall under the mandate and fail to obtain health insurance, you’ll face a tax penalty on your federal tax returns.

Image by Flickr user DorkyMum


About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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