What are the Consequences if You Don’t Have Health Insurance by March 31?

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healthinsuranceThe clock is ticking on signing up for health insurance to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The deadline for signing up is March 31. If you are already covered by health insurance, through your work or through an individual or family plan, you don’t need to sign up. However, if you are one of those who don’t have health care coverage, you have until the end of March 2014 to sign up.

But what happens if you don’t sign up? Yahoo! Finance offers a look at some of the consequences:

Penalty

The main issue that many have with the new health care law is the penalty. For 2014, the penalty is $95 per adult in the household, plus $47.50 per child (up to $285 per family), or one percent of income, whichever is greater. The penalty increases over time, though, so in later years it will increase to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of income. The longer you go without health care coverage under the ACA, the more expensive it becomes. So, you pay the penalty, and you are still uninsured. Remember that for some families, there are subsidies for plans bought via health insurance exchanges.

Major Health Problem

Another consequence is one that is a little less direct. If someone in your family experiences a major health problem, and you don’t have health coverage, you could find yourself facing huge medical bills without the help of insurance. If you have a $50,000 hospital bill and no insurance, you are responsible for it on your own. That, according to Yahoo! Finance, is one of the big consequences of not taking advantage of the ACA’s subsidies to help you pay for health insurance if you have to get it on an exchange.