Not having insurance will cost you – literally!

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Assistant Policy Analyst

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Dedicated to affordable, quality healthcare and coverage for all Americans.

By Geraldine Slevin on Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Going without insurance means taking a gamble on your health – hoping that you won’t get sick or get in an accident and possibly face sky-high medical bills. But even if you don’t get sick, you’ll pay for not having coverage.

If you go without coverage for more than 3 months in a row (and don’t meet certain hardship exemptions), you’ll have to pay a penalty for not having coverage during those months.

The minimum penalty for one person has gone up to $325 for 2015 (and in 2016, it goes up to $695!). And if 2% of your household income exceeds the minimum penalty – which will be the case for most households – you’ll have to pay more.

This chart from Covered California shows what you might pay:

Penalties for Not Having Insurance in 2015

Household size

Annual Income

$30,000

$40,000

$60,000

$80,000

$100,000

$150,000

1 (single filer)

$394

$594

$994

$1,394

$1,794

$2,570

2 (single filer with one dependent under 18)

$488

$594

$994

$1,394

$1,794

$2,794

3 (married filing jointly with one dependent under 18)

$813

$813

$813

$1,188

$1,588

$2,588

4+ (married filing jointly with two dependents under 18)

$974

$975

$975

$1,188

$1,588

$2,588

You can estimate what your penalty for not having coverage might be by using this handy calculator from the Tax Policy Center.

If you’re considering going without coverage and paying the penalty, be sure you aren’t missing out on health insurance at little or no extra cost. It might cost you just as much (if not less) than the penalty amount to enroll in coverage for 2015.

Paying the penalty—that is, paying something for nothing– is a bad deal, especially when you could get financial help for buying insurance. So far, over 80% of those who have selected a plan through an Exchange have qualified for help paying for their insurance. In California and many other states, if your income is very low, you could get free insurance coverage through Medicaid.

You have just over a month left to sign up – Feb. 15, 2015 is the deadline. Don’t pay a hefty penalty for not having coverage! Visit your state’s Exchange or the federal Marketplace at Healthcare.gov to get covered now.

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