Obamacare Defiers Face Minimal Penalties Starting Next Year

Not that anybody can make you pay them


To try to ensure that people sign up for coverage, the Affordable Care Act carries complex penalties for those who remain uninsured that could cost them hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Some 6 million people could be hit with these fines in 2016, forking $7 billion over to the federal government, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Here's how the penalties will work:

Uninsured adults will either pay a flat fee for themselves and their children or pay a share of their income, whichever is greater. The penalty is pro-rated if people have coverage for part of the year, and they won't be liable if they lack coverage for less than a three-month period during the year.

The penalties start relatively small, but ramp up within a few years. But there is a limit. They cannot exceed the national average premium for bronze coverage—the cheapest plan tier—in the state-based exchanges.