JOPLIN, MO.--- It's been three weeks since Healthcare.gov went live and opened up the Marketplace for health insurance. Even though time has gone by, many still have questions about how it works. One of the more common questions involves the fines we've heard so much about. We've all heard the warnings, if you don't buy health insurance, you'll be facing a government fine, but will you?
"The fines are either $95 per person adult or 1% of your taxable income for 2014. Kids, it's $47.50 per child is the fee for being uninsured. The most a family would have to pay would be $285," said Allison Riddle, Area Agency on Aging Community Services Director.
Allison Riddle is the community services director for the Area Agency on Aging. She is also a certified application counselor for the Affordable Care Act. You may have heard about the fines she's talking about, $95 dollars per person or 1% of your taxable income for the year 2014. The interesting thing that most people don't know is there are several circumstances where you don't have to purchase insurance and you won't be fined.
"If you fall under those exemptions. If the insurance that you have available to you is too expensive, which a lot of people say that. If it's more than 8% of your household income, you will be exempt," said Riddle.
That's just the start of the exemptions.
"If you have any of these circumstances this counts as hardship. If you're homeless, if you've received a shut off notice from a utility company. The death of a close family member. Fire, flood or bankruptcy. Medical expenses that you couldn't pay in the last 24 months," said Riddle.
Now, you may be thinking how will the government know that you qualify for these exemptions. Riddle says their will be several questions listed on your 2014 tax return where you will either prove you have health insurance, fall under one of the exemptions or pay the fine. She says the best thing to do is go through the process of signing up at Healthcare.gov.
"It's going to tell you what you qualify for, what the cost will be, and it will tell you if you qualify for either the assistance in paying for the premium. It will tell you if you qualify for Medicaid and it will tell you if you qualify for an exemption," said Riddle.
The bottom line is, if you don't currently have health insurance, experts recommend you at least go through the process of filling out the forms on Healthcare.gov.
KSN will be setting up a special phone in event on Wednesday, November 6th to answer any questions you have about the Affordable Care Act. We will have nearly a dozen Affordable Care experts standing by and ready to answer any question.