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  • Six Million People Expected to Pay Mandate Penalty in 2016

    A new federal report estimates about 6 million people will pay a penalty because they are uninsured in 2016, a figure that includes uninsured dependents who have the penalty paid on their behalf. Total collections will be about $7 billion in 2016 and average about $8 billion per year over the 2017-2022 period.

    The penalty will be the greater of a flat dollar amount per person that rises from $95 in 2014 and  $325 in 2015 to $695 in 2016 and is indexed by inflation thereafter (the penalty for children will be half that amount and an overall cap will apply to family payments) or a percentage of the household's income that rises to 2.5% for 2016 and subsequent years (also subject to a cap).

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimate that about 30 million nonelderly residents will be uninsured in 2016, but the majority of them will not be subject to the penalty tax. Unauthorized immigrants, for example, who are prohibited from receiving almost all Medicaid benefits and all subsidies through the insurance exchanges, are exempted from the mandate to obtain health insurance. Others will be subject to the mandate but exempted from the penalty tax—for example, because they will have income low enough that they are not required to file an income tax return, because they are members of Indian tribes, or because the premium they would have to pay would exceed a specified share of their income (initially 8% in 2014 and indexed over time). CBO and JCT estimate that between 18 million and 19 million uninsured people in 2016 will qualify for 1 or more of those exemptions.

    Of the remaining 11 million to 12 million uninsured people, some individuals will be granted exemptions from the penalty because of hardship, and others will be exempted from the requirement on the basis of their religious beliefs.

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