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Rates for young adults would be lower. Kaiser’s cost calculator gives a ballpark estimate of about $3,400 for an average single 26-year-old who doesn’t get subsidies.

In contrast, the first year’s minimum penalty for an individual is $95; that’s what a worker making $16,000 would pay. A $35,000 earner would owe $255 _ not even a tenth of the estimated $3,325 in premiums.

In 2016, the minimum penalty rises to $695 and it’s capped at a little less than 2.5 percent of taxable income. That’s about a $1,600 fine for someone making $75,000 per year.

Even for the wealthiest folks the law says the penalties can never exceed the average cost of a “bronze” plan. But most of those people already have insurance, anyway.

The Internal Revenue Service could withhold the penalties from taxpayers’ refunds if they don’t show proof of insurance. About 4 million people are expected to end up paying the penalties.

“For many young people, this is the first time they’ve had to deal with health insurance and the health care system,” said Smith. “There will be a learning curve.”

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Online:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.healthcare.gov/

Kaiser Family Foundation’s health care subsidy calculator: http://healthreform.kff.org/subsidycalculator

Young Invincibles: http://younginvincibles.org/

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Follow Connie Cass on Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/ConnieCass