While Jennifer Richardson, marketing and outreach coordinator for the Athens Neighborhood Health Center, understands why some people want to wait to enroll in healthcare policies this year, she warns residents not to make paying the penalties a yearly habit as it could end up costing them hundreds of dollars.
“The penalty is minimal this year to give people extra time to sign up for health insurance, but if you continue to prolong it it’s going to cost you a lot of money that you could have used to pay toward a premium for health coverage,” Richardson said.
Deadline to sign up for a healthcare is March 31. Anyone who has not signed up for health coverage by then will be charged a penalty.
The penalty in 2014 will be calculated one of two ways and the consumer will pay whichever amount is higher, Richardson said. Either 1 percent of the annual household income or $95 per person for the year. If there is a child in the home under the age of 18 the penalty will be $47.50 for that child.
The penalties increase next year to 2 percent of the yearly household income or $325 per person. The penalty for children will be $162.50.
Another increase, 2.5 percent of annual household income or $695 per person, is expected for 2016.
The spike in the penalty each year is to encourage people to sign up for health insurance instead of going without and just paying a fee, Richardson said.
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