Countdown to ObamaCare (Part 1): The basics - who and how much?

With only days to go before open enrollment, questions continue to surround the new health care law commonly known as “ObamaCare."


by Chris Woodward

Source: One News Now

Part 1 of a four-part series.

Beginning in 2014, Americans will be required to have health insurance and to provide proof of that insurance with their tax form. Failure to comply will result in an initial penalty of $95 or one percent of your income, whichever is greater. The penalty is more for families and will increase in both cases over the coming years. One of the big questions right now involves where a person will get insurance.

According to Devon Herrick, senior fellow with the nonprofit and nonpartisan National Center for Policy Analysis, the answer varies."

"The Congressional Budget Office assumes that most of us will still get our health insurance through our job," says Herrick. "But if you look at the topic over time, I suspect that increasingly more people will begin to get their health coverage through the yet-to-be-opened health insurance exchanges and some will get it through Medicaid."

The cost of health insurance will also depend on your situation.

Herrick explains the cost: "If you are a moderate income family, and if you qualify for the new health insurance exchanges, you can get some really very generous coverage - in some cases for no more than two percent of your income, for example."

A family with an income of $32,000, for example, would be required to pay only a "few hundred dollars" for health insurance.

"Now if you make more than, say, $94,000 for a family of four, you get no help from the government," says Herrick. "And you could find yourself paying $10,000, $12,000, even $15,000 for a health plan."

The federal government will offer subsidies to qualifying individuals and families who cannot afford their health plan.

Meanwhile, Michael Ramlet of The Morning Consult points out that even though consumers can purchase or enroll in a health plan October 1, nothing takes effect in terms of subsidies and coverage until 2014.