Taxes: Health Insurance Penalties Rise

Taxes: Health Insurance Penalties Rise

Martín Di Felice

Palm Springs, CA

It’s just four days until your taxes have to be filed, and if you don’t have health insurance you’re paying more this year.

The penalty went up this year under the Affordable Care Act meaning if you don’t have insurance, you’re paying hundreds more than last year.

RosaLinda Garcia is paying the price for not having health insurance.
This is nothing new for her.
She’s paid the penalty every year the Affordable Care Act has been in place.

"I am a small business, daycare, childcare and because of our fluctuating income, it’s hard to actually buy insurance," said Garcia. 

People are paying more this year.
Paul Schlager with H & R Block in Palm Springs tells us the penalty increased by hundreds of dollars.
"The ACA penalties were set when it was passed, so this year in the individual penalty if you don’t have it, insurance is $695, it will go up next year," said Schlager.

Last year RosaLinda’s family paid nearly $2,000 for not having health insurance.
"This year we actually did get an exemption because my income was really low."

Tax preparers say look for the loopholes.
"If you’re income is under a certain threshold or you are not a US resident, you may not be required to have health insurance," said Schlager.

An executive order by President Trump has the IRS accepting tax returns even if a person doesn’t indicate if they are covered.
The IRS is reviewing that to figure out the implications.

Meanwhile, Paul says it is "Status quo, just continue on the way it is until direction comes otherwise."

Paul says they see more people are covered now.
RosaLinda says the penalty is unfair.
"It’s just so expensive, even as a privately owned business, it’s really expensive to go out and purchase insurance as it is," said Garcia.

Of course, with part of the political system looking to repeal the ACA the future is unclear for health insurance and taxes.
Don’t forget to file by the 18th.