The clock is ticking for Obamacare. Not on its lifespan, just on its deadlines. Folks who don’t have Obamacare-friendly insurance but want it in February must sign up for insurance by this Friday, January 15, 2016. As Delaware Online noted, those who do not have insurance and are not federally exempted from passing it up face heavy penalties. These penalties for lack of insurance are either 2.5 percent of your household’s income, or $695 per uninsured adult plus $347.50 per uninsured child under 18, whichever equals a greater amount. Since it’s inception, Obamacare has been criticized for everything from being a tax on health insurance to the failure of web servers to hold the large amount of people signing up.
If you are interested in getting Obamacare for yourself in 2016, your health insurance will go into effect starting February 1, 2016. Insurance can be obtained through www.healthcare.gov, and this site also has a good deal of resources pertaining to Obamacare’s penalties, laws, and other information. What it essentially boils down to is that you must have one of several government-approved insurance plans in order to be considered as having “minimum essential coverage” and avoid any penalties. To be Obamacare-friendly, the insurance plan/plans of your choice must comply with certain criteria, such as being more than just vision and dental care or covering treatment for more than one disease or condition.
If you have questions about whether your insurance plans will qualify, both the federal site and your state’s marketplace website are good places to begin. If you want any of the jargon the sites use explained, it may be helpful to call your state’s insurance marketplace. The number to call is usually listed on the corresponding state’s insurance website.
Of course, the future of Obamacare all depends on who becomes President in the next election. Some candidates such as Hilary Clinton have advocated making changes and reforms to the current Obamacare laws, while others like Donald Trump oppose it completely and want Obamacare gone for good. It’s obvious at this point that the system doesn’t work perfectly, but what’s done to solve that problem will depend on who the next President is and whether they face any resistance from the Senate and/or House.
The good news about Obamacare’s implementation is that it raises the age for dependents to remain on their parents’ healthcare plans from 21 to 26. However, the downside is that those over age 26 who have lost their parents’ plans but are still dependents of their parents will not be eligible for tax credits that can help reduce the cost of health insurance.
Even if you are eligible for tax credits, the steepness of these credits will be based on income. To find out if you qualify for tax credits while using Obamacare-approved plans, you can use the calculator on Healthcare.gov. The answer will depend on which state you live in and the number of people in your household. A specific amount of income isn’t mentioned on the Obamacare site, but if your income increases or you have less people in your household, your credits will typically be lower.
The reverse is also true if you lose income or gain more people in your household; this will generally cause the amount of Obamacare credits to increase. The Obamacare insurance site warns that taking more credits than you’re legally eligible for can result in owing money to the federal government when you file your next tax return, so be advised ahead of time.
[Image Via Chuck Kennedy, White House Photo/Wikipedia]