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  • Writer's pictureAhsan Malyk

Do You Have to Have Health Insurance in the US?

In 2010, when President Obama gave his signature to make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act law, one of the most important parts of the historic healthcare reform was the "individual mandate."

The individual mandate stipulated that almost all citizens of the United States must maintain health insurance coverage. What would you do without any coverage? You were subject to a fine, which you had to pay.

Republican legislators, on the other hand, have had issues with the individual mandate from the very beginning. A legal challenge was made against that aspect of Obamacare. In 2012, the Supreme Court decided that the requirement was constitutional.

Elimination of Penalty Fee

In spite of this, Congress approved Tax Cuts and Jobs Act under the control of the Republican Party. President Trump then signed it into law. This resulted in the elimination of the penalty fines associated with the individual mandate throughout the US.

As of the 1st of the year 2019, the individual mandate, in the form in which we were previously familiar with it, was no longer necessary under the law.

What Percentage of Americans Do Not Have Health Insurance?

Since the Affordable Care Act, there has been a general downward trend in the number of uninsured people. Simply put, ACA has made it a lot simpler for uninsured people in the United States to get health insurance.

48 million people in the United States did not have health insurance before the Affordable Care Act in 2010. This number has dropped to 30 million by the year 2022.

What exactly did the individual mandate suppose to accomplish?

The individual mandate had the intention of shielding the United States insurance market from "adverse selection."

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies had the discretion. They could either refuse to provide health coverage to those with a pre-existing illness or charge them higher rates.

Not only did the Affordable Care Act make it unlawful for insurance companies to refuse coverage, but it also utilized the individual mandate to increase the size of the pool of people who are covered.

In other words, the individual mandate assures that those who are otherwise healthy will still get coverage for health insurance. Because of this, health insurance firms are able to reduce the monthly rates that their customers must pay.

Since everyone had health insurance, the American government didn’t have to cover the medical expenses of those people who did not have insurance and were unable to pay for their treatment.

Who is subject to the individual mandate, and what are the exemptions from its provisions?

Because of the individual mandate, almost all people living in the United States who did not have health insurance between the years of 2010 and 2018 may have to pay a penalty charge the next year or at some point in the future.

This price comes in the form of an additional tax that one has to pay. It is for the period of time that you were uninsured. Anyone who meets one or more of the following criteria is excused from having to maintain health insurance coverage:

● Served time in a prison

● Had a tax return that was not required since their income was so little and did not warrant it being filed

● Were individuals who belonged to a Native American tribe

● Had a religious belief that prevented them from obtaining health insurance

● Participated in a healthcare-sharing ministry as a member

● Was not authorized to be in the United States

● A hardship exception

● Paid a specific percentage or more of their salary into their health insurance premiums each month. Each year, the precise proportion was determined by the IRS.

However, beginning in 2019, you will not be required to pay any kind of penalty charge or tax. This is the case regardless of whether or not you are exempt from the individual mandate. On the other hand, there are a few states that still continue to carry out the individual mandate.

Is it possible to go into legal trouble without health insurance?

At the moment, there is no cost by the federal government for those who do not have health insurance. This indicates that if you do not have health insurance, you will have to pay a penalty charge.

However, a number of states have enacted their very own individual requirements. As a result, residents of California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont are subject to fines if they do not obtain health insurance.

You will continue to be subject to penalty penalties for years during which the Affordable Care Act was in effect if you did not have health insurance and did not have an exemption.

If you do not have health insurance, do not belong to one of the exempt categories, and do not qualify for a hardship exemption, you may still be subject to a financial penalty.

It is in the form of a tax that is part of your tax returns for those years if you do not have health insurance. The amount of this payment, which is often referred to as the "individual shared responsibility payment," varies from year to year.

Is it a felony to not have health insurance in the united states?

Individuals no longer have to maintain health insurance coverage. A number of states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that require residents to obtain health insurance coverage.

Failing to comply with these laws often results in a fine.

Why is it necessary for me to get health insurance?

Even if you are young and in generally excellent health, it is essential that you obtain health insurance. Unexpected accidents and illnesses may have a significant negative effect on your financial situation.

For instance, even if you don't require surgery for it, a broken leg might still end up costing you several thousand dollars. In addition, the majority of health insurance policies make it possible for you to get preventative treatments free of charge.

Take Away

Just because Federal laws are not compelling you to have health insurance coverage does not imply that you are exempt from having a need for it.

If you do not already have health insurance, it is important that you spend some time investigating the many coverage alternatives available to you in order to choose the plan that is the most suitable for meeting your financial and medical requirements.

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