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Financial Help For Many, Penalties For Some Under Obamacare

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- On Tuesday, Pennsylvanians without health insurance can pick one of 36 private insurance plans that the Obama administration says, on average, will cost around $286 a month.

For many that is still a lot of money, but Beth Heeb of the Consumer Health Coalition says there is some financial help for those making under $46,000 a year.

Under a somewhat complicated formula, those taxpayers will have their premiums reduced and "an individual can elect to take their credit in advance and have it go directly to the insurance company monthly to help pay for their monthly premium or they can elect to take it when they do their taxes in the form of a refund," Heeb told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

There's even more help called cost-sharing for those who make under $29,000 if they choose the so-called silver plan of coverage.

All these subsidized premiums are expected to make health insurance more affordable.

That's key for many healthy young people who may want to skip signing up altogether.

"Young adults sometimes get a bad rap because they make poor decisions," notes Heeb. "Our hope is that individuals will realize that this is important, regardless of how old they are."

It's also the law.

Failure to have an insurance plan by March 31 means a penalty of $95 per adult or $47.50 per child, up to $285 per family -- OR -- one percent of family income, whichever is greater.

While there are exceptions for those eligible for expanded Medicaid and those with religious or conscientious objection, for most, those penalties jump in 2016.

The penalty that year for failing to have health insurance is $695 dollars per adult, $347.50 per child, up to $2,085 per family -- OR -- 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is greater.

Health Exchanges Kick In Next Week (9/25/13)
More Reports by Jon Delano

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