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Penalty Trumps Health Coverage in New Survey [AUDIO]

Come January 1, Americans without health insurance will face an eventual financial penalty from the federal government. In a new survey, though, it appears the threat isn’t scaring everyone.

Flickr User Alex Proimos

Approximately four in 10 Americans would rather pay the fine than purchase health coverage, according to the latest report.

Respondents were offered a hypothetical scenario featuring a middle-aged individual who earns $50,000 per year. The average health plan would cost this person $3,000 annually. Without health insurance, the fine would be $400.

“Certainly, just paying the penalty is going to be less expensive,” said Laura Adams,’s senior analyst. “But you leave yourself really exposed to a lot of potential financial burden if you don’t have insurance and you get sick or you get in an accident that’s unexpected.”

The penalty amount per person is $95 or one percent of household income. The maximum penalty per family in 2014 is $285.

Perhaps the most surprising survey result was the fact that younger respondents were more likely than older respondents to choose coverage over a penalty. Sixty-five percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 would buy health insurance, versus 57 percent of Americans 30 and older.

“To see an increasing number of Americans say, ‘I’m interested in getting health insurance,’ I think that does bode well for the future of Obamacare,” said Adams.

More information:

According to information obtained by from the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace on Thursday, penalties for those without coverage would not be assessed until they are filing their 2014 income tax returns, due April 15, 2015. Individuals whose earnings are too low to require a federal income tax return will not be subject to such penalties.

Those who are not able to cite existing coverage in a new line on their 2013 tax return will begin receiving reminder notifications during 2014 with information on how to enroll in health insurance through either the federal exchange or one their state may have established. (New Jersey residents must use the federal exchange.)

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