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Individual Mandate: Fines, Fees and Penalties of the Affordable Care Act

The deadline to enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act is March 31. Choosing not to buy coverage will result in fines, fees and penalties under what is called the Individual Mandate.

Like selecting coverage, the Individual Mandate will affect each person differently based on income level and household size.

If applicants enroll by March 31, coverage will begin May 1. However, for coverage to begin April 1, applicants must enroll by March 15.

Falls Insurance on Holmes Avenue in Idaho Falls is one of the places listed on the Your Health Idaho website, with licensed agents who also work assisters to help those seeking coverage.

Vice president, Joshua Teiken and his staff will work overtime this weekend to help Idahoans get covered.

So far 43,861 people have gotten covered under the Affordable Care Act in Idaho. Of those, 26% are young adults, which is the target group for President Barack Obama.

The majority of enrollees ate between the age of 45 and 64 and account for 46% of those covered in Idaho.

“More people in their middle years and established families are looking for coverage, they see the benefit. The younger people I think are somewhat misinformed. They haven’t taken the time to learn what’s in it for them or what’s in it for them if they don’t,” said Teiken.

The health care law fines people who don’t buy coverage.

“We see there are two ways to get the penalty,” said Teiken.

The fee is based on whether annual household income is more or less than $19,650. If a person makes more than the amount, the fine is 1% of the annual income. The maximum penalty in this case, is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.

A household will be required to pay whichever option is highest.

“Each household is going to be a little different,” said Teiken.

The fines will be divided into monthly payments and increase every year.

If a person who does not buy coverage needs medical care, they will be responsible for 100% of the cost.

“We don’t know when we’re going to have an accident. Life is uncertain,” said Teiken.

The open enrollment period for 2015 will start November 15, which means those who miss signing up before the March 31 deadline will not be able to buy coverage again until November.

For a full list of rules, fee exemptions and rule exceptions click this link.

Eastern Idaho Technical College is holding an enrollment open house Saturday to assist those needing help to sign up for health insurance.

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