So what’s really going on with the tax penalties for NOT having health insurance? With President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, there is a provision within this law that eliminates the “individual mandate”, meaning you are no longer required to buy a health plan or pay a tax for not having a “qualified health plan”.
This removal of the penalty, however, doesn’t begin until 2019, so for all you folks that have already dropped your coverage in 2018, you will be in for an unhappy little tax penalty surprise come tax time. It’s best to stay covered if you can afford to. This law does not remove the ACA, also known as Obamacare, but just the tax penalty if you don’t have a “qualified health plan”. In late 2018 when “open enrollment” comes around for 2019, you can decide to stay insured, or take your chances and not have insurance, but you can’t be taxed in tax year 2019 for not having health insurance.
Healthcare.gov, however, will still be operating and selling health insurance plans in 2019 with Government subsidies. Medicaid will still be available to those individuals and families who qualify based on their income. Employers will still be required to offer health insurance coverage to their employees and comply with the law. None of that changed.
Rates are likely to go up in 2019
The likelihood of fewer healthy people enrolling into qualified health insurance plans in 2019 will increase, and those with pre-existing conditions that feel like they cannot go without coverage will probably keep their coverage and re-enroll. This is certain to drive prices higher than they have already been driven. We’ve seen rates more than double in some counties here in Nevada, and for the rates to be driven higher will be a true concern for Nevadans.