Thought for the week…

Over a year later, people are still bitching about the Affordable Care Act. I've even seen some people say that they'll pay the $95, because they "don't get sick that often" and it's cheaper. That, of course is based on the erroneous assumption that the fee remains at $95 until you [A] Buck up and actually get insurance, [B] Get a job where insurance is included (which is harder to do now that companies are determined to keep you H ≤ 29 so they won't have to insure you, or [C] You die. (By the by: dying is fucking expensive. Take it from daughter of a funeral assistant!)

Dayanara, you're a pharmtech…you must know something about insurance. What happens to people who didn't get insurance in 2014?

We're going to use four imaginary people for these scenarios: Alpha, who thinks she can skate by without insurance because she's rich (to the tune of $75,000+ per year); Beta, who manages to make $50,000 a year but doesn't have insurance (maybe she's a freelancer); Delta, who only makes $25,000 a year and Gamma, who is basically me (about $6,000 a year, works in retail) without Medicaid. (But not me, since I have Medicaid.)

Alpha will be missing $750 from her tax refund in 2015, as she falls under the "1% of your income" rule. Not much for someone who makes over fourteen hundred a week…but it'll piss her off when she wants that new pair of Louboutins. Beta will lose $500 and Delta will lose $250, because they also fall under this rule. (The fee will be harder on Delta, because $250 is a lot more to a median income person than a rich woman like Alpha.) Gamma will pay the flat $95 fee, because 1% of her income is only $60.


I've heard the fees get worse as the years go on. Is that true?


If Alpha fails to get insurance in 2015, her fee will climb to $1,400 and in 2016, it goes up another $350. YOW! After that, Alpha's fines will be adjusted for inflation.

Beta will be charged a flat thousand for missing out in 2015, but she'll pay $1,250 for skipping 2016. Delta, who will hurt most from not getting insurance, pays $500 for 2015, but will have to pay the $695 flat fee for 2016, as 2.5% of her income is only $625.

Our poor Gamma (why haven't you gotten Medicaid yet, Sweetie?) will also pay $695 in 2016 and get the flat fee of $325 in 2015.


What if I got coverage outside of the designated signup period? Will I still get my ass kicked?

This, I can confidently say, is a no–especially if you had to wait for your state to get its collective ass in gear to straighten out its new Medicaid program. (If this is someplace on the web, I don't know it…this is from personal experience.)

About a week or so ago, I got a letter (four, actually…I must have tried to sign up too many times) with a code printed on it for my accountant to add to my tax return. This special code will tell the IRS that I do have coverage and to please let me keep my $95. I don't know if they'll send out these letters in the future, however, so you'd better be careful.

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