If You Like Your Exemption, Keep It: 90% Of Uninsured Won't Pay Obamacare Penalties

Tyler Durden's picture

No insurance, no penalty appears to be Obamacare's new meme as The Wall Street Journal reports almost 90% of the nation's 30 million uninsured won't pay a penalty in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health-coverage requirement. In the interests of socialism, the Obama administration has provided 14 ways people can avoid the fine (on top of exemptions carved out under the 2010 law for groups including illegal immigrants, members of Native American tribes and certain religious sects). The list of exemptions runs deep but one exemption for people who "experienced another hardship obtaining health insurance" (requiring documentation if possible but not requiring it) has been notably criticized as too broad. The exemptions are worrying insurers, as they could make it easier for younger, healthier people to forgo coverage, leaving the pools overly filled with old people or those with health problems. That, in turn, could cause premiums to rise.

 

 

As The Wall Street Journal reports,

Almost 90% of the nation's 30 million uninsured won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health-coverage requirement.

 

...

 

The Obama administration has provided 14 ways people can avoid the fine based on hardships, including suffering domestic violence, experiencing substantial property damage from a fire or flood, and having a canceled insurance plan.

 

Those come on top of exemptions carved out under the 2010 law for groups including illegal immigrants, members of Native American tribes and certain religious sects.

 

Critics have assailed one exemption for people who "experienced another hardship obtaining health insurance" as too broad. That exemption asks for documentation if possible but doesn't require it.

 

...

 

Factoring in the new exemptions, the congressional report in June lowered the number of people it expects to pay the fine in 2016 to four million, from its previous projection of six million.

The exemptions are worrying insurers.

The penalties were intended as a cudgel to increase the number of people signing up, thereby maximizing the pool of insured. Insurers are concerned that the exemptions could make it easier for younger, healthier people to forgo coverage, leaving the pools overly filled with old people or those with health problems. That, in turn, could cause premiums to rise.

 

Patrick Getzen, vice president and chief actuary at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, said he saw more "older and sicker people" enrolled in 2014 than projected. He attributed some of that to the weakened mandate.

 

"With a stronger penalty and less broad exemptions, that would be better for the risk pool."

The White House response to all this...

"The Affordable Care Act requires people who can afford insurance to buy it, so that their medical bills are not passed onto the rest of us, which drives up health care costs for everyone."

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So, shut up and pay...