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Health Care Reform: What Does it Mean for You?

June 27, 2014

Changes are unique to your situation. How the health care reform law affects you varies greatly depending on your age, who you work for and many other factors. So what does it mean for you? Below is a list of how health care reform affects a number of common categories.

Everyone: Beginning in 2014, every adult must either have health insurance that meets minimum standards of coverage or pay a penalty when filing tax returns.

The penalty in 2014 is 1 percent of your yearly income or $95 per adult for the year, whichever is greater. For children, the penalty is $47.50 per child, up to a $285 maximum per household.

The penalty gradually increases over the next two years. By 2016, it will be 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person, whichever is greater, and $347.50 per child up to a $2,085 family maximum.

Those who choose to pay the penalty and remain uninsured will still be responsible for 100 percent of the cost of their medical care.

While the penalty applies to the vast majority of Americans, there are certain exemptions. The following uninsured people will not have to pay a penalty if they:

  • Are uninsured for fewer than three months of the year
  • Have very low income and coverage is considered unaffordable
  • Are not required to file a tax return because their income is too low
  • Would qualify under the new income limits for Medicaid, but their state has chosen not to expand Medicaid eligibility
  • Are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe
  • Participate in a health care sharing ministry
  • Are a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to health insurance
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