Question: What is the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act?
Answer: The individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act requires most individuals to maintain minimum essential health insurance coverage or pay a penalty. For children, the penalty will be one-half the amount for adults. The penalty for 2014 is $95 per person or 1 percent of the household income, whichever is higher.
There are several exemptions to the individual mandate for those who qualifies. Exemption include
those who cannot afford coverage
taxpayers with incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL)
Indian tribe members
those who receive a hardship waiver
individuals not lawfully present
individuals without coverage for less than 3 months during the previous year.
One of Affordable Care Act main goal is reducing the number of uninsured Americans. In 2000, there were about 38 million Americans without insurance. With the recession from 2009 to 2010, the number of uninsured American spike to 50 million!
The most controversial part of Affordable Care Act/Obama Care is the “individual mandate”. For the first time in American history, the federal government is requiring most Americans to have health insurance. Starting in January 2014, individuals will be required to have health insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage or risk paying a tax penalty for every month they are uninsured.
Anyone who doesn’t have medical insurance by March 31 will have to pay a $95 penalty, or 1 percent of their annual income, whichever is greater. And the penalty will rise by 2016, when the penalty will be 2.5 percent of your annual income or $695.