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I have to pay WHAT?

October 22, 2012

Yah.  Health Insurance.  Gotta have it.  Starting in 2014.

Nobody is upset about the provisions in my last post.  All those changes most people agree are good.  The kicker in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is the individual mandate.  Even Mr. Obama himself wasn’t real big on it at first.  But here’s the thing.  Congress made a rule a long time ago that hospitals have to take all comers.  You go to an ER, you get treated, period.  But no provision was ever suggested for how hospitals were supposed to pay for all this.  So we (doctors, nurses, administrators) suck up the cost, OR….. you pay, in a different way.  Taxes.  Insurance premiums.  Fees.  The money has to come from somewhere.  Mr. Nather says that about 8% of what insured people pay for insurance is really going to cover those uninsured folks.  You’re paying, no doubt.

It may be more fair to make everyone pay at least something in right?  OK but some people, whether through their own fault, fate, accident, or whatever, can’t pay.  Period.  The government is not trying to punish those folks.  Here’s who doesn’t have to get health insurance:

If you will be spending more than 8 percent of your income on premiums, you don’t pay

If you are only uninsured for 3 months or less, you don’t pay

If you earn too little to pay taxes, you don’t pay

If you are a member of a Native American tribe, you don’t pay

Now, if you don’t make a whole lot, but you make enough to pay taxes, you do pay, but the government helps.  Here’s the rule: if you make more than $43,320 individually or $88,200 for a family of four you have to have insurance but, and this is a big but and might be a pain in the butt as well: you can apply for a tax credit to help pay premiums, and subsidy to help pay out of pocket costs. Sorry medicare and medicaid people. These subsidies do not apply to you. The impending paperwork on this boggles the mind.  Here’s what you’ll have to do:

Vitals: name, SS, proof of citizenship

Tax return to prove what you make

Department of Health and Human Services determines if you’re eligible

DHHS informs the Treasury Department, and the health insurance exchange in your state

Treasury Department pays your tax credit to the insurance company

The insurance company lowers your premiums

YIKES!

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