According to a recent
Kaiser Family tracking poll 67% of the uninsured did not understand The Health
Care Act and how it would affect them.
One question topmost on most Americans mind is "How does one avoid paying penalty?"
The basic answer is to buy health insurance - though this is not all.
The health plan will have to cover some essential benefits which include hospitalization, maternity care, mental health, prescription drugs and some other categories.
The plan will also have to cover some of the cost of those benefits. The insurance cover should take care of 60% of an average person's health care needs. This will be decided by the structured format of the new health exchanges.
In 2015 most citizens will receive a form from either their employer or insurer as proof of their insurance cover which they will then submit to The Internal Revenue Service as a portion of the tax return.
"Will penalties be applicable for 2013 or 2014?"
Most Americans will have to pay penalties for the year 2014, which will be assessed in 2015, a penalty of $95 which will be deducted from a tax refund. A short lapse in buying insurance cover for a maximum of 3 months will be exempted.
"Does one have to buy insurance cover independently?"
The health law will have navigators who will help an individual to go through the web site to decide on a suitable cover, though the filling of the form, picking a plan and making a payment has to be done by the individual. The federal government will help those whose income is less than 400% of the poverty line - less than $45,000 a year. Those with an income of 150% below the poverty line will pay only 3% of their income as premiums and the government would pay the rest. For those who cannot find a plan that costs less than 8% of their income will not pay fines for not buying health cover.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Sarah Kliff, April 2013