Dear Addy: Individual Mandate

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Dear Addy,
I just turned 27 and have lots of debt. Instead of purchasing health insurance, I would rather use the money I make to pay down what I owe. I have mild hemophilia and I have not had a bleed in a year. Do I still need to have health insurance under the new health care laws?
~Healthy Hemophiliac
Dear Healthy,
Yes. Starting January 1, 2014, every US citizen no matter what age ( with a few exceptions) is required to have health insurance. US citizens under the age of 26 can to stay on their parent’s health insurance if feasible. Citizens who are 27 and older must purchase health insurance.
There is a penalty for people who fail to purchase health insurance. For example, if you do not purchase health insurance in 2014, you will be charged a fee of 1% of your annual income or $95, whichever is higher. The fee increases every year after that. If you are not able to afford a monthly premium, you may be eligible assistance. Mandate or not, you need to consider carefully the hazards of having hemophilia, mild or not, and not having health insurance. The health and financial consequences could be substantial.
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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.