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Administration issues regulations for individual healthcare mandate

Jan. 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The Internal Revenue Service and Health and Human Services Department Wednesday issued regulations on the individual healthcare mandate.

The mandate, which requires nearly all taxpayers without it to purchase health insurance next year, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a historic 2012 decision.

The government Wednesday explained rules for exemptions to the mandate in regulations regarding IRS penalties for those who choose to remain uninsured after the 2009 Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, The Hill reported.

Individuals eligible for exemptions include people with religious objections to traditional healthcare, people for whom healthcare is not affordable, undocumented aliens, and people who don't make enough to pay federal taxes.

Short gaps in coverage due to temporary unemployment between jobs won't trigger a fine.

HHS called the health coverage mandate, the most unpopular part of the healthcare reform law, a system of "shared responsibility" payments.

The penalty for not having health coverage "applies only to the limited group of taxpayers who choose to spend a substantial period of time without coverage despite having ready access to affordable coverage," an HHS fact sheet said.

Individuals who choose not to purchase medical insurance in 2014 -- and don't quality for an exemption from the mandate – will be subject to a $95 fine. The penalty grows to $695 by 2016 and then rises annually.

The fact sheet noted the Congressional Budget Office had determined that fewer than 2 percent of Americans would be required to make a payment under the mandate.

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