Yesterday, I was reminded that there are many Americans who are still planning to go without health insurance in 2014 in protest to Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Their reasoning is that it is cheaper to only pay a $95 tax penalty than it is to pay the even higher cost of health insurance.
Mr. Obama, Ms Sebelius, and their supporters keep telling Americans how inexpensive health insurance is. Unfortunately, they are not telling the entire truth.
Yes, health insurance is less expensive for individuals, but only if they have household incomes low enough to qualify for federal tax help to pay for the premium. The lowest premium for health insurance I have seen for a client who qualifies for a federal “subsidy” has been only $28 a month.
Unfortunately, most of my clientage either have access to group health insurance at work or are self-employed and make more than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. They will not get any assistance paying their monthly health insurance premiums.
For people like that, they have no option, if they are to remain within the realm of law-abiding Americans, but to pay for benefits, like maternity and substance abuse, that they do not even need.
In addition, Obamacare creates new taxes and fees that insurance companies intend to just pass down to their members.
If Obamacare were not the only factor driving insurance premiums higher, most states have laws that require insurance companies to charge premiums high enough to pay for all the medical bills they receive during the year. When doctors, hospitals and pharmacies continue to increase what they charge, insurance companies have no option but to increase their rates, because state laws require them to.
The result of the combination of Obamacare and state’s laws is that health insurance premiums are now unaffordable for individuals who are required to buy their own health insurance but are not eligible for federal tax credits to help them pay their premiums because they have been too successful in their business.
Yesterday, I was reading a series of comments from a “friend” on Facebook. She was saying that the premium for her health insurance was increasing from $625 a month to over $1000 a month and was wondering if she has any options.
One of her “friends” suggested that she go without health insurance and just pay the $95 penalty.
That logic makes sense to me. Unfortunately, it is nothing more that politically motivated, anti-Obama spin.
Heaven knows that I am not an Obama supporter. In my opinion, he has been, and continues to be, the worst president the United States has ever had. He makes Grant, Hoover, Nixon and Carter look like great statesmen in comparison.
Never-the-less, the PPACA has been the law of the land for over 3 years. Since it was passed, America has had two congressional elections and one presidential election. Since the majority of citizens in the U.S. elected to return the same senators and president to D.C. they have endorsed Obamacare. Those of us who do not like it have no choice but to honor it.
However, the time for politics are over. Now that Americans are finding out the true cost of implementing all phases of Obamacare, it does nobody any good to spread misinformation and ignorance.
The PPACA mandates a penalty, called the “Shared Responsibility Payment” for Americans who do not purchase approved health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court endorsed the right of Congress to implement that tax in June, 2012.
Unfortunately, people often cite only the portion of the law that says that a $95 tax penalty will be given to all Americans who do not buy affordable health insurance.
The people who spread that poison for political reasons fail to recognize that the penalty is $95 OR 1% of a household income, WHICHEVER IS GREATER.
A household, with two working spouses, each earning $50,000 after taxes, could end up with a surprise penalty of $1000 when they compute their taxes for 2014.
Imagine the surprise they will have when that $95 penalty that they expected turns into a $1000 penalty.
Yes, $1000 in penalties is still less than the annual cost of health insurance. However, it is a great deal more than the $95 that people, with a political agenda, are talking about.
Often, accompanying the argument to go without health insurance and just pay the penalty is, “If you get sick, just get health insurance when you go to the hospital.”
That also would make sense, if you were not familiar with the provisions that have been made to prevent this from happening. There are two.
- It is a fallacy to think that you can wait until you are sick or injured and get health insurance in the Emergency Room. Under Obamacare, it will take a minimum of two weeks, from the time you apply for health insurance until the time it is in effect. That means that if you have no health insurance when you go to the hospital, you will be personally liable for all your medical bills for the next two weeks, at a minimum.
- Under Obamacare, the only people who are able to buy health insurance after March 31, 2014 will be those who have lost their health insurance, through no fault of their own (e.g. change jobs). If your health insurance policy lapses for failure to pay the premiums, you will remain uninsured for the balance of the year.
If you are involved in a major car accident and must spend two weeks in a hospital while you wait for health insurance to become effective, you could find yourself personally responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
I think of these two facts as the “Wisdom Brothers” behind Obamacare. If the financial penalty is not enough to convince you to buy health insurance, the wisdom of avoiding potentially high premiums should.
I am definitely not a supporter of Obama or Obamacare. In my opinion, it is still hard to believe that my government is mandating how I spend my money.
However, as I mentioned above, whether I like Obamacare or not is meaningless, at this point. It is the law of the land. It has been endorsed by the U.S. Supreme Court and the majority of Americans have said that they want it by re-electing the clowns who dreamed it up.
As long as Harry Reid, who wrote the PPACA, can prevent any bill to repeal it from being voted on in the senate and President Obama is able to veto any attempt to change it, that is not in his political interests, it will remain the law.
My hope is that Harry Reid gets fired next November and Obamacare gets overhauled by a new president in 2017. However, until then, like Prohibition, America is stuck with Obamacare.
Although I know that millions of middle-class Americans feel like they are getting screwed by both politicians and insurance companies, the time for politically biased misinformation is over.
The window of time in which individuals, who must buy their own health insurance, can secure the coverage they need is closing fast. They do not need to be confused with “spin.” They need facts so that they can make an informed decision.