Feeling invincible is one of the perks of being young, but you can run into trouble if you make financial decisions on the basis of that feeling. Aside from that fact that getting health insurance is now legally required, it’s also an acknowledgment that today’s wellness doesn’t guarantee tomorrow’s safety.
Accidents Happen. Even to Healthy People.
Since you’re healthy, you probably like to get outside. Maybe you’re into extreme sports, fitness and exercise in nature, or just an avid explorer. Although fun, these can also be a source of potential catastrophe. Don’t get us wrong, we want you to keep at it — but we also want to remind you that everything worthwhile in life carries some risk. Health insurance is a way to ensure that a physical mishap doesn’t spell financial disaster.
Health Insurance Probably Costs Less Than You Think
For starters, you may already know that 83 percent of people with Obamacare receive a discount on their premiums through the Affordable Care Act. Most ended up paying less than $75 per month. Furthermore, if your state is among the 32 that have expanded Medicaid, you can qualify for absolutely free health coverage if your income is below 138 percent of the poverty line. State rules vary slightly, but in Washington State, you qualify for Medicaid if your income as a single person is below $16,248 per year. Also, if you’re under 26, you can usually still be added to your parents’ health plan, even if you’re entirely self-sufficient and living in a different state.
Postponing Health Care Isn’t Good Money Management
Having health insurance encourages you to get any potential health issues treated while they’re still small. Statistics show that 33 percent of uninsured people tend to postpone getting medical care, which is a big reason why primary care and preventive visits are covered under every health plan in the marketplace. It costs you way less if you go in today to have that curious swelling checked out, rather than wait a few months, hoping it goes away.
It’s the Law
The Affordable Care Act is a federal law, and the penalties for non-compliance will ramp up for 2016. Foregoing health insurance will now cost you 2.5 percent of the part of your household income that’s subject to income tax, OR $695 per person, whichever is more. The average penalty in 2016 for non-compliant households is expected to be about $969. It may cost you less to get coverage than it will to pay the penalty.
It May Not Be Too Late to Get Coverage This Year
Now that you’ve read this far, you might be wishing you had signed up for coverage during the 2016 open enrollment period (which ended on January 31). There’s good news for you, however: The Affordable Care Act has plenty of built-in exceptions that qualify people to sign up for health insurance during the rest of the year. You can learn about Special Enrollment Periods and see if you qualify. Missing just one or two months of coverage won’t trigger the penalty, but if you go longer without insurance, each month will cost you 1/12 of that increasingly hefty fine. You’ve got better things to do with your money than pay federal tax penalties.
Our licensed brokers would be happy to help you understand your health care options and deal with the paperwork for enrollment. Make an appointment today if you’d like to learn more.