Americans Expected to Manipulate Taxes to Avoid Buying ObamaCare Health Insurance

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A new op-ed written for Forbes Magazine has revealed a concern of ObamaCare backers that individuals required to purchase health insurance in the coming months will find a way to avoid doing so.

With penalties not affecting the immediate incomes of individuals who skip out on policies — and instead deducting penalties from tax refunds the following year — some fear Americans who want to avoid buying coverage will simply manipulate their taxes to sidestep a penalty altogether.

ObamaCare Issues Penalties to Americans Without Coverage

One of the most disliked aspects of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, has always been the requirement for most U.S. residents to purchase health insurance coverage by 2014 to avoid a penalty.

The idea behind mandating the purchase of coverage was to ensure millions who are currently uninsured buy the new lower-cost insurance options that will be available through health exchanges later this year.

The penalties for avoiding coverage have been broken down by year:

  • 2014: Individuals ($95), families ($285 or 1 percent of income, whichever is greater)
  • 2015: Individuals ($325), families ($975 or 2 percent of income)
  • 2016: Individuals ($625), families ($2,085 or 2.5 percent of income)

A report issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in 2012 found that an astounding 6 million Americans were already under the assumption that they would have to pay the health care tax penalty due to plans to opt out of buying coverage before the law fully takes effect next year.

Loopholes Can Be Used to Avoid Purchasing Health Insurance

While the penalties were meant to serve as a deterrent to individuals who consider avoiding health insurance coverage, the Forbes article revealed that not as many people are concerned about paying the penalty as one might think.

With some expecting their premiums to more than double if they purchase coverage via a health exchange, they have figured out a way to avoid paying the penalty in full.

The penalty (for the first year, at least) is far less that the cost of coverage for the year, leaving some with the option of sucking up the cost. Others are expected to manipulate their taxes so that less is taken from their paychecks each month, resulting in a bigger refund that could absorb the penalty fee.

The article did explain that not everyone plans to skip out on coverage. While some may choose to completely opt out, others may simply want to purchase a less-comprehensive plan that doesn’t meet the guidelines of the government’s health insurance benefits package.

There has been no mention of whether the government plans to address individuals who manipulate their taxes to avoid buying coverage.

(Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)