Consumers are running out of time to acquire health insurance policies
Residents of the United States have until January 31 to acquire health insurance coverage through federal and state-run exchanges. The end of the open enrollment period of these exchanges is rapidly approaching and those without insurance coverage could face a penalty from the federal government. This penalty has grown this year, which may come as a surprise for some consumers that are unaware. Consumers throughout the country are being encouraged to acquire health insurance, either through HealthCare.gov, or through the private market.
Majority of consumers now have insurance coverage
According to President Barack Obama, more than 90% of U.S. citizens now have health insurance coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services has noted that the majority of those enrolling in insurance exchanges also receive federal subsidies. These subsidies were introduced through the Affordable Care Act and serve as a way to reduce the cost of coverage. President Obama suggests that many people can find coverage for less than $75 a month due to these subsidies. Those with insurance coverage may also be able to save some money by shopping around for new policies.
Federal penalty has become more impactful this year
Those without health insurance coverage will face a penalty from the federal government. The penalty currently stands at 2.5% of an uninsured person’s annual income or $695 per uninsured adult in a household, whichever is highest. This is somewhat higher than the penalty was in 2015. Some consumers may be able to avoid the penalty, even if they do not have health insurance coverage. Those that have experienced significant life-altering circumstances may be exempt from the federal penalty.
Consumers are avoiding coverage due to high costs
Many consumers continue to avoid acquiring health insurance coverage because of the costs associated with the policies available to them. Policies available in exchanges throughout the country have become more expensive, thereby becoming less attractive to consumers. Insurers have been raising premiums in order to recover from the financial losses associated with providing coverage to a much larger consumer base.