Do I need to buy health insurance?
Starting Jan. 1, 2014, almost everyone must have health insurance. The good news is that most people in Washington state already do. But if you're one of the more than 1 million people in our state who are uninsured or if you're struggling to pay for your insurance, you might qualify for tax credits or financial assistance. Here's how it works:
If you're an individual making between $15,281 - $45,960 a year or are a family of four earning less than $94,200, you could qualify for tax credits (www.healthcare.gov) to help you buy a health plan in Washington's Healthplanfinder. The amount of assistance you'll get depends on your income.
If you're an individual earning less than $15,281 a year and are a legal resident of Washington state, you could qualify for free coverage (www.hca.wa.gov), starting Jan. 1, 2014.
If you don't have health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, most people will have to pay a penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, up to $285 for a family or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater. The penalty increases to $325 or 2 percent of household income in 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent of household income in 2016.
You may be exempt from the requirement to have health insurance if:
- You're low income
- You're a member of a recognized Indian tribe
- You have a religious objection to buying insurance
- You live outside the U.S.
- You've been uninsured for less than three months
- Your employer's health plan is unaffordable (if it costs more than eight percent of your household income)
- You're enrolled in a health care sharing ministry