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Health insurance is something that has been widely talked about in the United States in recent years. Health care reform has made health insurance available to more people and helped to eliminate barriers to obtaining insurance that were present in the past. Obtaining health insurance can help you to keep yourself and your family healthy and can help you to avoid paying tax penalties.

Tax Penalty Will Increase for 2016

For 2015, the penalty for not having a qualifying health insurance plan is either two percent of household income or $325 per adult, whichever is higher. The penalty for each child under 18 in the household is $162.50, with a maximum of $975 per household. This penalty is paid with federal income tax for the year. For 2016, the penalty will increase to 2.5 percent of household income or $695 per adult. Penalty per child will increase to $347.50, with a maximum household penalty of $2,085.

What You Select Affects Your Premiums

When selecting a healthcare plan, the options that you choose can either raise or lower the monthly premiums that you are required to pay in order to keep the insurance. Selecting a plan with a high deductible will lower the amount that you are required to pay per month. Selecting a plan that has lower copays or that covers a higher percentage of certain services may increase monthly premiums. An insurance agent can help you to select a plan that fits your needs and budget.

Qualifying Life Events May Extend Enrollment Period

Open enrollment periods may vary based on the insurance company. However, these generally occur during the late fall and early winter. If you fail to sign up for insurance during the open enrollment period, certain qualifying life events may make you eligible to sign up during a special enrollment period.

Qualifying life events may include circumstances such as:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth of a child
  • Loss of minimum essential coverage
  • Relocation to a new county or state
  • Release from incarceration
  • Becoming a dependent
  • Gaining U.S. citizenship

Insurance Helps You Stay Healthy

Obtaining health insurance can make it easier for you to keep yourself and your family healthy. Wellness check-ups and certain preventative services may be available at no out-of-pocket cost. If an accident occurs or you or someone in your family becomes sick, insurance can make it much more affordable to seek medical treatment. Health insurance can help make it easy for your family to seek necessary services to enjoy the highest degree of health and wellness possible.