Health Care The Real Cost of Going Uninsured Read the Article Open Share Drawer Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Written by Magaly Olivero Published Jan 28, 2016 1 min read Most Americans who go without health insurance even when they can afford coverage face a penalty when they file their federal income taxes. In some instances, though, the real cost of going uninsured can go well beyond the government penalty. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of skipping coverage. Flat fee versus household income The penalty for non-coverage in 2016 is a flat fee of $695 per person ($347.50 per child) OR 2.5 percent of household income – whichever amount is greater. The flat fee applies to every uninsured household member, with the family maximum capped at $2,085. This is the first time the penalty could exceed the cost of health insurance for some people, especially if they qualify for subsidized coverage at HealthCare.gov or their state Marketplace. No grace period Unlike last year, the federal government has no plans to offer a special enrollment period around tax time for those who have not enrolled for coverage. Plus, the government has tightened eligibility and verification rules for those requesting a special enrollment period, making it tougher for people to purchase health insurance outside of the open enrollment window that ends Jan. 31, 2016. Risky business The real cost of going without health insurance, however, could be astronomical if you or a loved one suddenly faces a serious injury or diagnosis. The cost of a trip to the emergency department, treatment for a devastating illness such as cancer, or rehabilitation after an automobile accident can be daunting. Mounting health bills can ruin your credit history and are a major reason for bankruptcy. Written by Magaly Olivero Magaly Olivero is an award-winning writer and has written for many national and regional media outlets, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, tax and education industries. Her publishing credits include U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, The New York Times, Working Woman, Better Homes and Gardens and the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Magaly is a recipient of a National Journalism Fellowship from the University of California Annenberg School of Communication and a Health Coverage Fellowship from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. More from Magaly Olivero Leave a Reply Cancel reply Browse Related Articles Self-Employed Self Employed: Living and Working Abroad? Here’s What… Investments What is a Bear Market and What Does it Mean to You? Income and Investments 4 Summer Activity Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank Tax Planning Everything You Need to Know About Property Taxes Self-Employed Self-Employed? Quarterly Tax Date Deadlines for Estimat… Income and Investments Recent Grad? Here are Four Reasons to Start Saving Now … Investments Real Estate Taxes vs. Property Taxes Retirement So You’re Thinking About Retiring One Day? Self-Employed Self-Employed Tax Tips & Summer Jobs Work So You’re Crossing State Lines?