A survey of Phoenix residents suggests that people are generally confused about what happens if they don't have health insurance at the end of this month.
Consider that there are about 1 million uninsured people statewide, and only about 60,000 have purchased health insurance through the exchange established by Obamacare -- that makes for a lot of people who may be confused.
H&R Block hired a market-research company to survey people in Phoenix, and 37 percent of respondents said they didn't plan to enroll in a health insurance plan (keep in mind that 20 percent of people statewide don't have insurance, according to Kaiser Family Foundation statistics).
Meanwhile, they found that 25 percent of respondents weren't really sure whether there would be a tax penalty for people who don't have health insurance this year.
Even worse, 22 percent of people said there won't be a penalty for not having health insurance; i.e., 22 percent of people are going to be in for a surprise when they file taxes next year.
Although there are exemptions, the penalty is 1 percent of a person's yearly income, or $95, whichever is higher. The penalty for 2014 will be paid along with 2014 taxes, due in April 2015.
That penalty increases each year, to 2.5 percent of income or $695 per uninsured person. (See the thorough explanation on the healthcare.gov website.)
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In addition to the nearly 60,000 Arizonans who have selected a health insurance plan through the exchange, almost 67,000 more people were found to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, both of which have been expanded under the Affordable Care Act.
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