Bet You Didn’t Know How Much Free Will Cost You

Yep, sure it’s free, right …

Bet you might want to read the Bill NOW!!!

The minimum amount — per person — will be $695 once the tax is fully phased in. But it will be less to start. The minimum penalty per person will start at $95 in 2014, the first year that the law will require individuals to obtain coverage. And it will rise to $325 the following year.

Starting in 2017, the minimum tax per person will rise each year with inflation. And for children 18 and under, the minimum per-person tax is half of that for adults.

However, the minimum amount per family is capped at triple the per-person tax, no matter how many individuals are in the taxpayer’s household. So, for example, a couple with one child over 18 (or two children age 18 or under), and no coverage, would pay a minimum of $285 in 2014, $975 in 2015 and $2,085 in 2016. And that would be the minimum no matter how many uninsured dependents a taxpayer has.

The tax would be more for persons with higher taxable incomes. When phased in, it will be 2.5 percent of household income that exceeds the income threshold for filing a tax return. For 2011, those thresholds were $9,500 for a single person under age 65, and $19,000 for a married person filing jointly with a spouse. So, to give a rough calculation, a couple with $100,000 of income might pay a tax of $2,025 if they choose to go without coverage.

But the penalty can never exceed the cost of the national average premiums for the lowest-cost “bronze” plans being offered through the new insurance exchanges called for under the law. We have no way of knowing what that average rate might turn out to be in 2014, but there is reason to think it could be quite high. For example, the total cost of a basic Government Employees Health Association plan currently offered through the Federal Employee Health Benefit program (the model for the state insurance exchanges) totals $9,459 per year for a family plan, and $4,159 for individual coverage.

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