Breaking Down Obamacare: Individual Mandates Effective Jan 1. - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Breaking Down Obamacare: Individual Mandates Effective Jan 1.

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WMDT 47 News – Early July, employers could let out a big sigh of relief after a delay in Obamacare. The  employer mandate was delayed for one year, meaning employers will be spared penalties of up to $3,000 per worker until 2015. But the individual mandates haven't changed.

"I think it has too much stuff in it that doesn't belong in it," Rosalie Ennis of Pocomoke City said.

"I think it's a good thing. I really do," Tiah Rhock of Salisbury said.

Mixed emotions on Obamacare. But whether you like it or not, you have less than six months to get on a health insurance plan before paying a penalty.

"One percent of your income is the tax penalty for the right to be uninsured," Vice President of Atlantic Smith, Cropper & Deeley Chris Carroll said.

Now, that may not seem like a lot, but the penalty will climb to two then 2.5 percent over each subsequent year. So if you don't have access to healthcare and you're looking for an option, the government is working to set up an exchange in each state. It's a marketplace where you can purchase insurance. If you can't afford it, you can apply for federal tax credits which could cover a substantial amount of your bill.

"Poverty rate calculations are the biggest driver. If you make less than 400% of poverty, you'd be eligible for some exchange subsidy potentially. Someone at 150% poverty and someone at 400% of poverty will pay different rates," Carroll said.

But there's a catch.

"Statistically, 30% of the population won't be eligible for the exchange," Carroll said.

If your employer offers an affordable healthcare option that meets the minimum requirements as mandated by the government, you also won't be eligible for the exchange. Your dependents may be eligible for the advanced tax credit, but officials are still trying to figure that out.  

"Any business of substantial size is going to be required to give their employees a 1512 notice, which will let them know if they've passed one of the hurdles of access to the subsidy exchange," Carroll said.

If you have private insurance, it may be time to start crunching numbers and weighing your options.

The expansion of Medicaid in many states including Delaware and Maryland is also another aid for those with lower rates of poverty. Medicaid currently covers people at 100% on the federal poverty level. But with many changes taking effect come January, Delaware and Maryland residents with incomes of up to 138% of the poverty line will be eligible for Medicaid.

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