How uninsured will cope under new health care law

health care insurance
health care insurance

We've been seeing a lot of stories about people who say they're healthy and shouldn't be forced to waste the money on health insurance. For example, a recent story in The New York Times talks about a man who earns about $25,000 and never bought health insurance and doesn't think he needs it. He doesn't want to spend money on something he calls a "maybe" -- maybe I'll get sick.

So what happens to these people who decide to forgo insurance in 2014? They may or may not have to pay a tax penalty. But for someone making just $25,000 a year, if he can't find a policy that is no more than 8% of his income or about $167 per month, there would be no tax penalty.

The mandate doesn't require people to buy insurance if the lowest cost option exceeds 8% of one's income. People with incomes below the tax filing threshold also are exempt from the penalty. That threshold for people under 65 was $9,350 for singles and $18,700 in 2009 for couples, and is adjusted each year by the IRS.