Starting next year, the penalty for not having health insurance drops to zero. The change is due to last year’s Republican tax bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the repeal of the penalty would move 4 million people to drop their health insurance next year — or not buy it in the first place — and 13 million in 2027.
Some people who from the start hated the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is often called, will drop their coverage as a political statement. For others, it’s simply an issue of affordability. Almost 90% of Covered California’s enrollees receive financial help in the form of tax credits to pay for their health coverage, but those whose incomes are too high to qualify for tax credits are having to pay 100% of the escalating monthly premiums.
According to a new study, up to 450,000 more Californians may be uninsured in 2020 as a result of the penalty ending, and up to 790,000 more by 2023, boosting the state’s uninsured rate for residents under 65 to 12.9%. The individual market would suffer the biggest losses.
Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, predicts that enrollment in the individual market — both on and off the exchange — could drop by 12% next year. Exchange officials also blame the end of the penalty for 3.5% out of a total 8.7% average increase in premiums, because the departure of some healthy people from the market will lead to a sicker and costlier insurance pool.
If you’re considering dropping your plan and risking the devastating financial consequences of an unexpected medical expense, check first to see if you can lower your premium.
Since 1984 we’ve been working with individuals, families and small companies throughout California to provide complete and unbiased information, so you can make an educated decision for your health insurance needs. I hope you’ll feel free to contact us anytime.
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