WASHINGTON, D.C. - Under the Affordable Care Act, almost everyone is required to be covered under a health insurance plan, or pay a penalty. And that penalty is set to rise steeply this year.
People who weren't covered under a compliant health plan in 2015 or didn't meet some specific exemptions will have to pay what amounts to a fine when they file their 2015 tax return. The government has two ways of calculating what you'll owe in 2015. That's the greater of $325 for each adult and $162.50 for each child, not to exceed $975, or 2 percent of your family's adjusted gross income.
In 2014, the penalties in these examples were $649 and $797, respectively. So, the increase in 2015 is about 100 percent. And in 2016, these penalties are set to rise approximately 25 percent. That's the ACA's design -- to increase the penalty cost of going without health insurance to create a greater incentive to buy coverage for 2016.
Note that some people are exempt. This includes those who've been uninsured for three months or less in 2015 or lived abroad for more than a year. Here's a complete list of these exemptions.