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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Mandated to Get Insurance but Can't Afford It?


If you are between the ages of 19 and 26, you can get health care through your parents’ plan. Your parents' premium is likely to be higher, but paying their difference may be more affordable than buying coverage on your own.

You may be exempt. Although the law now is that everyone has to have health insurance or pay a fine, some people are exempt from paying the fine. You are considered exempt if:

  • You don't make enough money to file a tax return. You earn less than $10,000 a year or your family income was less than $20,000. 
  • It would take more than 8% of your gross income to buy insurance even after applying an employer’s contribution and tax credits.
  • You belong to certain groups. For instance, if you are an American Indian, if health insurance goes against your religious beliefs, or if you are in prison, you are exempt.
  • You qualify for a “hardship” exemption granted by your state's Marketplace. There are several ways to qualify for a hardship exemption. One way is to live in a state that does not expand its Medicaid program, but if it had, you would have qualified. So even if you can't afford insurance and don't qualify for Medicaid, go to your state's Marketplace site so you don't have to pay a penalty.

Don't close the door on health insurance for yourself and your family without checking on the financial aid available to you. You'll all feel better for it.

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