by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There are 5.8 million uninsured individuals who could purchase an Obamacare plan for less than the cost of the penalty for not having health insurance, according to a report from Kaiser Family Foundation.
Obamacare’s individual mandate requires that Americans have health care coverage or pay a penalty to the IRS. Currently the penalty totals 2.5 percent of family income or a flat fee of $695 per adult and $347.50 for each child, up to a total of $2,085 for the family. …
… According to the foundation, 54 percent of the uninsured who are eligible for subsidies could sign up for a bronze plan next year that would require no premium contribution after the subsidy kicked in. Another 16 percent could sign up for a bronze plan that would cost less than the penalty. …
… The reason, however, that these individuals may continue to opt for the penalty, according to Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, is that the Kaiser report is only taking premiums into account—not copays, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs.
“Bronze plans only cover about 60 percent of expected costs,” Pipes said. “So even if Obamacare’s tax credits effectively cover the premiums for a bronze plan, beneficiaries will still face thousands of dollars in expenses when they try to actually use their coverage.”
“Many healthy Americans would prefer to pay the penalty for going without coverage than buy health plans with such meager benefits and hefty cost-sharing,” she said.