Will my premiums go up because of health care reform?

Many people will likely see their rates go up a bit. But the good news is that the reforms mean thousands more Americans will now have health coverage. The challenge comes from the fact that insurance companies must take all customers, no matter their health condition. It costs more to cover people with pre-existing conditions. That’s why rates will go up for just about everyone. Plus, the new law says all plans must include a minimum amount of coverage, called essential health benefits. That means we will add to all plans such things as: ER services, maternity care, mental health, lab services, pediatric care and vision services. Most plans will see this coverage added starting in 2014. More benefits add to the cost of a plan. Grandfathered plans will stay the same, though their rates may still change because of new rating rules.

What are the penalties if I don’t buy insurance?

The minimum penalty is $95 per adult in 2014. This will increase if you have minor children and do not buy insurance for them. That amount will go up each year after that. It could go up to a maximum of $695 per adult, per year, or 2.5% of your wages. Of course, only the government can fully evaluate what fees and penalties it charges you. It’s important to remember that someone who pays the fee won’t get any health insurance coverage and will still be responsible for 100% of the cost of their medical care.