Do I need to buy health insurance?
Most people are required to have health insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty. The good news is that people in Washington state already have coverage. But if you're one of the nearly 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).
If you don't have health insurance by March 31 of this year, 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're 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