Q: Will the individual mandate under the ACA force those without coverage to enroll in health care plans?
A: The law provides for a new tax beginning in 2014 for those without minimum essential coverage called a “shared responsibility payment.” This new tax is the greater of $95 or 1 percent of income in 2014, $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016. However, the ACA also provides exemptions to this mandate for those who are below the income tax filing threshold, those who would have to pay more than 8 percent of household income for coverage or those ineligible for Medicaid because their state did not expand Medicaid. Many believe that without the hammer of the individual mandate many of these individuals who comprise much of the state's uninsured population will not obtain coverage.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER