A common question when getting yourself and your family covered is do I have to buy health insurance?
If you don’t have health insurance, you should. Health insurance is an important way to make sure we have access to medical care when we need it. Starting in January 2014, most people will be required to have health insurance or pay a penalty if they don’t. Coverage can include employer-provided insurance, coverage you buy on your own, Medicare or Medi-Cal.
The penalty phases in over three years and becomes increasingly severe. In 2014, the penalty will be 1 percent of annual income or $95, whichever is greater. By 2016, the penalty will be 2.5% of income or $695. This means that if you do not have coverage in 2014, you will be required to pay a penalty when you file your taxes at the end of the year.
The open enrollment period is expected to start this fall and continue until March 31, 2014. You must purchase health insurance during the open enrollment period to obtain coverage in 2014. If you have a life changing event such as the loss of a job, death of a spouse or birth of a child, you would be eligible for a special enrollment within 60 days of the event. If you do not enroll in the open enrollment period you will not be eligible to purchase individual health insurance until the next open enrollment period begins in October 2014.
We can help you navigate this system and be sure that you and your family are covered! Stay tuned for more details. In the meantime, if you have specific questions please give me a call!