More people paid a fine on their 2014 income taxes for not having health coverage than the government expected. So far, the government has collected $1.5 billion from 7.5 million people – on average $200 per person in fines. Some of those 7.5 million, about 300,000, might be eligible for an exemption due to financial hardship or income status and the IRS is reaching out to them to see if they might want to file an amended return. Approximately 12 million did file for an exemption. Another 5.1 million failed to check the box indicating they had coverage but did not file for an exemption or pay the fine; these cases are being analyzed by the IRS. From the government’s perspective, more people paid fines and fewer filed for exemptions than anticipated. The IRS penalty for failing to have coverage in 2014 was the greater of $95 per adult or 1 percent of adjusted gross household income. The fine increases to the higher of $325 per adult or 2 percent of household income this year, and will increase again in future years. As the fine increases, employers should think about this as a potential “wake up call” for some individuals that would trigger enrollment in employer plans.
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