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Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.

Affordability for Young People

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Question: I’m 27, single, and I have a decent job, but I’m definitely not making the big bucks. I don’t get health insurance at work. I had my own policy for a while, paying out about $150 a month but I never used it. I had to lapse it when my car needed major work. Anyway, I read where the Obamacare mandate penalty is $95 a month. How much more will health insurance cost?

Answer: In 2014, the cost of health insurance will be a lot more than the ACA mandate penalty. The annual fine for not purchasing health insurance under the ACA is $95 per person in 2014 (or 1% of taxable income, whichever is greater), $325 in 2015 (or 2%), and $695 in 2016 (or 2.5%). Thereafter, the mandate fine is indexed to inflation. The monthly premium for the benchmarked essential-benefit qualified health plan plan individual plan in 2012 is about $300 per month for a male age 26. It will be higher in 2014.

But, if you are like many of the young people under 30 who are just entering the work force, you have a below-average income. If so, you will qualify for either Medi-Cal or private health insurance with premium subsidies, which will make your health insurance coverage either free or highly discounted.

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