Q:

What happens if you don't get health insurance?

A:

Quick Answer

The Affordable Care Act mandates that Americans who do not have health coverage pay a fee beginning in 2014. The fee increases with each subsequent year.

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Full Answer

Americans who did not have coverage in 2014 must pay either 1 percent of their yearly household income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per each child under the age of 18, whichever amount is higher. Only household income over the tax filing threshold of about $10,000 per individual is used to calculate the 1 percent penalty. The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze health insurance plan. The maximum flat per-person fee is $285 per family.

In 2015, the fee increases to either 2 percent of yearly household income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, whichever is higher. The maximum per-person fee for families is $975.

In 2016 the fees increase to 2.5 percent of yearly household income and $695 per adult. Fees in subsequent years are scheduled to be adjusted for inflation.

Fees are paid on the federal income tax return for the year in which there was no coverage. If the fee is not paid, the IRS automatically withholds it from any future tax refunds. There are no liens, levies or criminal penalties for not paying the fee. Exemptions are possible for those who are unemployed.

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