WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Americans will see their bank accounts shrink if they don’t sign up for Obamacare in its second enrollment season.
Uninsured Americans who decide not to enroll will face a penalty of $325 per person, more than tripling the $95 penalty those who did not enroll had to pay the first time around.
Children under the age of 18 will be fined $162.50. The maximum amount an uninsured family will be penalized is $975 under the flat-rate method.
“The penalty is meant to incentivize people to get coverage,” Laura Adams, senior analyst of InsuranceQuotes.com, told CBS News. “This year, I think a lot of people are going to be in for a shock.”
CBS News reports that many Obamacare plans will be charging more as a 27-year-old earning 250 percent of the poverty rate will now have to pay an average of 7 percent more for the lowest-cost bronze plan. The analysis from Investor’s Business Daily found that the lowest-cost silver plan will rise 9 percent and the lowest-priced catastrophic policy will go up by 18 percent.
Adams stated that very few uninsured Americans don’t understand the penalties they are facing.
“There is very little awareness of this,” she told CBS News. “Until people understand the financial consequences, they don’t have an incentive.”
The Health and Human Services Department said earlier this week that between 9 to 9.9 million Americans will receive health care plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces for next year’s coverage. That’s lower than the 13 million estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.
The bugs have supposedly been removed from the famously troubled http://www.healthcare.gov website, which can withstand last season’s peak loads and beyond with at least 125,000 simultaneous users. The online application has been pared from 76 screens to 16 for most consumers.
The “young invincible” crowd of 18-to-36 year olds is crucial to the law’s success because insurance companies need their business to offset the costs of covering older, sicker and more expensive enrollees.
Experts say education is one of the biggest challenges as many consumers only focused on the low monthly premium last year and didn’t understand the potentially high deductible and out-of-pocket costs. Consumers were confused when they discovered their doctor wasn’t in their plan’s network or that they had to pay for testing because deductibles hadn’t been met.
Insurance companies say volume will always be an issue because open enrollment coincides with Medicare enrollment and many large groups also renew their policies in January. But insurers say they’ve expanded Internet bandwidth, added staff and increased customer service hours.
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