Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It Might Cost you $3,800 To Go Without Health Insurance?

Now that is a fine with some teeth.

Just as auto coverage is now mandatory in nearly all states, Baucus would require that all Americans get health insurance once the system is overhauled. Penalties for failing to do so would start at $750 a year for individuals and $1,500 for families. Households making more than three times the federal poverty level — about $66,000 for a family of four — would face the maximum fines. For families, it would be $3,800, and for individuals, $950.

I have no idea how they will assess such a fine but it has suddenly made all college kids about $750 poorer unless their tax credits can cover that fine. I wonder if we will have to staple a copy of your health insurance card to your tax return in order to get out of the fine. Lots of moving parts but not a lot of answers. This part of the plan makes sense though.

The Baucus plan would require insurers to take all applicants, regardless of age or health. But smokers could be charged higher premiums. And 60-year-olds could be charged five times as much for a policy as 20-year-olds.

I think both smokers and overweight people should be charged higher premiums as well. If I could save several $100 a year on my premiums it gives me a financial incentive to avoid overeating. Also older people should pay more then younger people for insurance because they will actually be using the health care more often. It is only fair since they will have some of their costs covered by Medicare anyway. I think I can actually live with this Baucus plan the more I learn about it.

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