If you don’t enroll for Obamacare starting Starting March 31, you’ll have to pay a hefty tax penalty at the end of the year equal to $95 or 1% of your income, which ever is higher. Some American’s are considering paying the penalty since health insurance can be expensive even with subsidies, but the reality is that an illness or injury can happen at any moment, without warning, and it can cause severe financial hardship or bankruptcy for those without insurance.
See your standard costs that you would be billed from a hospital for some leading health problems among Americans (costs provided by Aflac.com)
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Even a routine tonsillectomy is more than $5,000. And none of the estimates above include the costs of a hospital stay—around $1,500 per day. Without health insurance, these expenses are billed directly to you.
Are you really will to take the risk of not being insured?
The Los Angeles Times featured an article recently that provides some options to consider if you’re still uncertain:
•Explore all your options — including private insurance outside of Obamacare.
If you buy insurance outside of a state marketplace/exchange (e.g. not with Obamacare), you won’t receive a subsidy, however this may be a good option for those with high incomes that may not have qualified anyway. You’ll find many great options off the exhange by contacting an insurer’s website directly or by contacting some insurance brokers, such as eHealth.com
•Consider the value of tax-free employer coverage
Although employer-sponsored health insurance can be pricey, benefits at work are offered tax free. That means you’ll often get better benefits for the price. A family in the 30% marginal tax bracket whose portion of work-based health insurance costs $1,000 is actually paying just 70% of that amount, or $700. In addition, larger employers tend to provide a larger range of benefits, such as the number of doctors and hospitals to which you have access.
•Consider the benefits under Obamacare/ACA
Many people overlook the new benefits and protections provided under the law, even with high-deductible health plans. For example, the Affordable Care Act requires that certain preventive services, such as flu shots, screenings and annual physicals, be covered without additional cost at the time of the visit. Some health plans even waive cost-sharing for common generic drugs. Even while they’re spending out of their own pocket for care before their plan’s deductible is reached, they’re still paying less than they would going it alone.
Also, the law requires plans to cap out-of-pocket spending at $6,350 a year for individuals and $12,700 for families, minimizing financial exposure in a worst-case scenario.
•Can you afford the risk?
If you face a serious illness or has an accident that requires a lot of medical care, the financial outcome could be devastating, experts say. A broken leg can easily rack up charges of $5,000; an appendectomy can run $16,000 between hospital and doctor bills. And those are just minor medical events. Consumers with assets and incomes can face great risk from collectors without insurance and that’s not a good strategy.
Like a cell phone or TV service, consumers should consider health insurance as a must needed expense and budget properly.