Amarillo, TX - With the first deadline to enroll in health insurance coming to a close, Americans have a few more weeks to get coverage before they are fined.
January 31, 2016, is the last day Americans can enroll in health care without paying any fees, and those fees have increased for the new year. For 2015, those without coverage were charged $325 per adult and $162.50 per child under the age of 18 in the household. However in 2016, the fees increase to $695 per adult and $347.50 per child or 2.5% of the household's income, whichever is higher.
A household with two adults and two children will pay almost $2,000. Those who enroll in health insurance later in January will not have to pay the fees, the fees will only be applied to those who do not have insurance after the first three months of the new year.
For those receiving a tax refund, the IRS will deduct these fees from their refund amount, and for those who owe money the fees will be added on.
Director of Family Services at the Panhandle Community Services, Mary Twitty, said people are able to file exemptions so they do not have to pay the fees.
"The state of Texas did not expend Medicaid, so because we are a state that did not expend Medicaid that is an automatic exemption, but you'd have to apply for Medicaid and get rejected and send that in by the 31st," Twitty said. All exemptions must be filed by December 31, 2015.
Twitty said this year the plans offered are more affordable for those who apply for a tax credit. "We have averaged somewhere right around $100 a month depending on your family size, so that makes it more affordable," Witty said.