- The Washington Times - Friday, March 7, 2014

As Obamacare takes root, a pair of think tanks are offering a new tool to let applicants know just how much they’ll have to pony up to the government for lacking health insurance in the coming year.

The Tax Policy Center said Friday it has launched an online “ACA Tax Penalty Calculator” to help people understand their liability for going without coverage for three straight months or more under the Affordable Care Act.

“The tax is almost always more than the $95 that news stories frequently cite,” according to the institute.

A single person who has to file for the 2014 tax year could pay as little as $95 or as much as $3,600, according to the calculator devised by the partnership between the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Families with two children could pay between $285 and $11,000.

That’s because while lower-income Americans will end up paying the baseline penalty, others will be paying 1 percent of their income above the filing threshold.

The baseline penalty for a single adults climbs in 2015 to $325 or 2 percent of adjusted income. In 2016, it will be $695 or 2.5 percent.

While most Americans will have to hold health insurance under the law’s “individual mandate,” there are nine total exemptions from the rule that cover everyone from illegal immigrants to prisoners; those who have religious conscience objections, such as the Amish; and health care sharing ministries, in which members pay for each other’s medical bills.

There are financial hardship exemptions, too, for people who cannot afford coverage.

More details on the calculator can be found at http://taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/acacalculator.cfm.