Ask Andy: ObamaCare penalties/local help - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: ObamaCare penalties/local help

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - More Mid-South consumers are huffing and puffing over ObamaCare.

Some are still having trouble logging on to HealthCare.gov. Others are sick about the penalties if they choose not to carry health insurance.

Angie Flaherty of Hernando, MS, is a good example of how frustrated some Mid-Southerners are with getting constantly locked out while navigating the Affordable Care Act's website.

"I have a really tough time imagining I'm the only one still having difficulties with the website and, even more, am concerned about the tax penalties," she wrote in an e-mail.

You should be concerned about the tax penalties, Angie -- because they're big -- and they get bigger.

The table and quotes below are from Patti Unruh, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

Penalties

The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of two ways. Consumers will pay whichever of these amounts is higher:

 

·         1% of yearly household income. There is a limit on maximum penalty, which is equal to the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.

 

·         $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.

The fee increases every year. 

In 2015 it's 2% of income or $325 per person. In 2016 and later years it's 2.5% of income or $695 per person. After that it is adjusted for inflation. 

If a consumer is uninsured for just part of the year, 1/12 of the yearly penalty applies to each month the consumer is uninsured. If a consumer is uninsured for less than 3 months, you don't have a make a payment. 

Finally, the fee is paid on the 2014 federal income tax form, which is completed in 2015. People with very low incomes and others may be eligible for waivers.

See what I mean.

That's why it would be nice to have some local assistance with HealthCare.gov -- and that is one thing the site does very well. 

It has a great "Find Local Help" page where you type in your zip code or city & state, and it will churn out links to every Mid-South organization that can help consumers get through the Affordable Care Act.

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