Though young and in good health, Marcus Sesay of Riverside enrolled for health insurance in 2015 to fulfill the mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Sesay, a 35-year-old native of Sierra Leone, was not motivated by free services like an annual checkup and other health screenings, but wanted to avoid the tax penalty consumers will face if they fail to get coverage in 2016.
“Having insurance is the law, and I obey the law,” said Sesay, a security guard who has a plan with Health Net and pays $65 a month for his coverage. “Insurance also gives me peace of mind. We don’t know what tomorrow might bring.”
Protecting your financial tomorrow is one of the many reasons to sign up for affordable, high-quality health care.
“It’s impossible to predict when or whether someone will get sick or have an accident, which makes purchasing health insurance a wise decision for anyone,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “Now there’s another reason to get insured — taxes.”
The “shared responsibility payment” is a new tax penalty that Americans have to pay this year if they can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it. It is called a shared responsibility payment because everyone in the United States is now required to be part of our health insurance system — buying health coverage for themselves and their families rather than relying on others to pay for their care.
Those who do not buy health insurance in 2016 may be subject to the penalty, which is $695 per person in a household or 2.5 percent of their income, whichever is greater. That’s the stick the law can whack you with, but Covered California prefers offering most consumers a helping hand —financial help paying for coverage.
Of those already enrolled, almost 90 percent got financial help to cover their premiums. In 2014, consumers who qualified received an average of $5,200 to pay for their insurance. For more information and to find local, no-cost assistance, visit CoveredCA.com and click the “Find Local Help to Enroll” button in the middle of the page.