If you want to find out the penalty for not buying insurance depending on your individual/family case, there is an easy calculator at healthinsurance.org.
The initial flat penalty for those earning less than $37,000 will be $95 per individual for 2014 rising to $695 per individual in 2016. For higher income non-insured the penalty is 1% of adjusted gross income in 2014 rising to 2.5% in 2016.
Under Obamacare you will be able to use hospital emergency rooms for care if you don't have insurance and will be able to get full coverage for any serious conditions that arise by signing up for healthcare coverage after the condition becomes known. However, there may be a wait to the next calendar year before coverage kicks in.
“It’s going to be important at the end of open enrollment to convey a sense of urgency and now is the time [to get covered],” Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told a recent Washington forum on the health law. “You can make the decision not to buy and wait until you get sick, but you will have to have until the next year and whatever costs you have in that intervening period are yours to bear.”Though you may not save as much as Gary Cohen indicates. The bronze level can require the patient to bear 40% of the cost along with prescriptions and medical appointment/exam co-pays. Even 50 somethings might come out ahead in paying the fine and getting health care just when they need it and relying on hospital emergency room services for the unexpected.
H/T Byron York