Starting in October, millions of Americans will go online to buy health insurance in a new way.
That’s when the new online insurance marketplaces—also called exchanges—will be up and running. We put together this infographic to highlight the basics of the new system:
Basically, if you’re uninsured or don’t like the plan you have, you can purchase a new one through the brand-new marketplaces. And if you’re a small business owner and you want to offer your employees a group insurance plan, you can also shop around.
Big businesses are the only ones required to offer insurance, and they have another year to comply.
No matter what your situation, the law requires you to be insured by Jan 1, 2014—unless you make so little that you don’t file income taxes or you’d have to spend more than 8% of your income to buy a plan. If you’re in jail or you’re an undocumented immigrant, you’re also off the hook (at least when it comes to insurance).
New rules require new plans to be offered in four standardized levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
But what if you don’t have insurance through your employer, and you don’t want to buy it? You will face a fine—which the Supreme Court ruled is a “tax” and thus allowed under the Constitution.
If you’re an individual, fines start at $95 per person or up to 1 percent of your income. Penalties jump to $325 in 2015 and $695—or up to 2.5 of your income—in 2016. The fines are capped at a maximum $2,250 per family. Really, the fines are a slap on the wrist compared to the cost of insurance premiums, only a very small number of people are expected to qualify (2 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office). But the government is counting on most people to do the right thing, buy into the system and get the peace of mind that comes with being insured.
Want to learn more? Visit Rocket Lawyer’s Affordable Care Act Center.
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