What Obamacare Means to You If You Don't Have Health Insurance

If you don’t have health insurance, the centerpiece of Obamacare is to get you covered. Depending on your situation, you’ll get coverage in one of three ways:

1. By using the tax credits you get when you shop on the government’s exchange to help pay for an insurance plan.

2. By staying on your parents’ health insurance if you’re under 26 and single.

3. By taking advantage of broader Medicaid coverage, if your state has expanded its program. Use the tool below to find out if your state has expanded its program.

If you don’t have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires you to get it by January 2014 or pay a penalty.

Is the exchange for me? Yes, the exchange is where you’ll buy health insurance using tax credits based on your income. . Expect to pay between 2 percent (minimum) and 9.5 percent (maximum) of your income for insurance if your earnings fall into any of the below ranges:

  • $11,490 - $45,960 for a single person
  • 15,510 - $62,040 for a family of two
  • $19,530 - $78,120 for a family of three
  • $23,550 - $94,200 for a family of four

What if I don’t buy coverage? You’ll pay a tax penalty of either 1 percent of your income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child for the year, whichever is higher. In 2016, the penalty increases to 2.5 percent of income or $695, whichever is higher. Plus, anyone without health insurance will have to pay the full cost of medical care. You won’t have to pay a penalty for not having insurance if you fall into one of these categories

  • You qualify for Medicaid but your state didn't expand the program

  • Your state’s health exchange doesn't have a plan you can afford (costs less than 8 percent of earnings)

  • You spent less than three months without coverage

  • You’re a member of a recognized religious group with objections to insurance and government programs, including Social Security and Medicare

    For more on who is exempt visit Healthcare.gov.

Now, use our tool to figure out how much a new health insurance plan will cost plus learn about important dates and coverage in your state.

Go back to the Completely Painless Guide to What Obamacare Really Means for You

Sources: The Kaiser Family Foundation, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the Health Insurance Marketplace, U.S. Census Bureau and the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

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