8.1 Million Taxpayers Paid $1.7 Billion in Obamacare Penalties in 2014

Nearly 8.1 million taxpayers paid $1,694,088,000 in Obamacare penalties for not having health insurance in 2014, the first year the penalty was in effect, according to the most recent data from the Internal Revenue Service.

“Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act required that individuals must have had health care coverage, qualified for a health coverage exemption, or made a shared responsibility payment with a tax return,” the IRS said. “A health care individual responsibility payment was made on 8.1 million returns for $1.7 billion, an average of $210 per tax return paying this penalty.”

Read more at The Free Beacon

For The Uninsured Obamacare Fines Look Increasingly Real

What will drive people to sign up for Obamacare during the latest round of open enrollment? Will it be the positives? The perceived benefits of doing so?  Or, will it be fear and worry over the looming ACA tax (or fine) for having failed to do so?  In a new report for the Hill (online, December 17) Elise Viebeck asks these questions, then explains, “Consumers face a Feb. 15, 2015, deadline to buy insurance, after which those without coverage could be hit with fines of $325 per adult or 2 percent of family income, whichever is higher.” Viebeck’s Hill piece also points out, “People without insurance are running out of time to avoid the hefty Obamacare penalties that the IRS will be handing down in 2016.”

Meanwhile, those in the without health insurance category are seeking an escape hatch to avoid the tax penalty now more closely look at the healthcare exchanges (or marketplaces) – prior to their closing. Both tax preparers and insurance companies see the impending tax as chances at more business. For example, chain tax-preparer Jackson Hewitt is prodding customers consumers to visit their locations, pledging their associates “work harder to keep up with the latest tax law changes to protect you from possible penalties – – not everyone else does.”

Meanwhile if prodding doesn’t work, there is always the previously alluded to fear: CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (of Washington, D.C. ) warns consumers in that metropolitan region that going without health insurance coverage would come with a steep cost.”CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield has also sent D.C. residents a mailer, which in part says, “When you don’t have health insurance . . . you put your financial security at risk.”

The Hill report additionally explains, “The penalties for going without health insurance were also more modest, with uninsured people due to pay $95 per adult or 1 percent of family income this tax season. Under the second-year enrollment rules, families that forgo insurance could end up owing $1,000 or more.”

Read more at The Hill 

Tales of Obamacare: From Elation to Frustration

As the deadline looms to acquire new healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), Chicago area residents are finding plans, though with not always ideal results. Various residents in the metropolitan Chicago area have decided either to keep their old plan, have been stuck on to wrong ones – finding it next to impossible to have themselves removed. Or, they have wound up paying more under Obamacare.

Many without coverage as of March 31, 2014 will face a penalty of $95.00, or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is higher.

Read more at Kaiser Health News

Fast Food Industry’s Obamacare Fears Ignore Two Likely Scenarios

Fast food chains and franchises’ worries about Obamacare may be unfounded. Young and healthy fast food employees may end up opting out of the insurance Obamacare requires companies with more than 50 workers to provide to full-time employees, according to a recent Barclays analyst’s note. Some may prefer paying a penalty (one that isn’t such a huge percent of their wages) over paying for health insurance. Also, workers can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they are 26.

Read more at The Huffington Post

Smoking Out a Major Flaw in Obamacare

The author claims that by smoking — or simply saying that you smoke — can put you beyond reach of the individual mandate to buy health insurance that is cornerstone of the entire plan. The mandate is backed up by a tax penalty, but in September 2009, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer introduced an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would exempt from the individual mandate anyone whose premiums exceed 8 percent of annual income. Democrats added mandates and the cost of a typical policy is now about 8 percent for those who don’t qualify for subsidies on those insurance exchanges that start up next year. The smoking surcharge would put most people over the limit. So simply by saying “I’m a smoker” will cause a higher premium to be charged and then one will not have to pay any penalty.

Read more at The (New Jersey) Star-Ledger