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Trump and Obamacare: The Law Still Requires You to Purchase Health Insurance

The Senate is still working on its version of an Obamacare repeal and replacement, but so far the bill doesn't have enough Republican support to pass.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had wanted the chamber to vote on the bill before the Fourth of July recess, but that didn't happen. Now the Senate must work to make changes to get the measure passed on a strictly party-line vote as no Democrats are expected to support it.

That means McConnell can only afford to lose the support of two GOP senators. Two such lawmakers have come out against the bill — Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine. A handful of other Republican senators remain undecided. Both parties agree the vote — if it happens  will be close.

“This has been way more difficult than it needs to be,” Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconisn Republican, told The Washington Post. Johnson was among five senators whose opposition to the bill led McConnell to postpone a vote until after the holiday recess.

Earlier this spring, the House of Representatives passed its own bill to replace Obamacare. Whatever bill the Senate may pass would then be sent back to the House for their input and approval for a final version that would then be sent to the White House.

President Trump is expected to sign a repeal bill into law if one makes it to his desk.

But nothing is a sure thing, especially when you consider some of the president's recent statements.

When the House narrowly passed its bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump lauded the version, saying it really brought the Republican Party together and that "we've come up with a really incredible health care plan."

Trump isn't finding the bill quite so incredible these days.

By mid June, CNN started reporting that the president called the House version of the bill "mean" and was glad to see the Senate working to make changes so the that it goes further in protecting individuals in the insurance marketplace.

Trump, according to reports, went on to say that the Senate should spend more on the bill to make it "generous, kind (and) with heart."

So for now, the question is, "What changes will the Senate make before sending the proposed legislation back to the House?"

Any repeal or replacement of Obamacare would have a huge impact on how Americans shop for health insurance. Lawmakers continue to be sharply divided on the issue.

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The House version passed with the narrowest of victories for the GOP, with 217 Republicans voting to pass the pill — just one more than the needed 216.

“We are all breathing a sigh of relief,” Rep. Chris Collins, New York Republican, told the New York Times after the vote. “We’re living up to a campaign promise we made, the Senate made, the president made.”

Until lawmakers in both chambers can hammer out a health care compromise, Obamacare will remain the law of the land.

Why Trump's executive order didn't kill Obamacare

Many thought Trump's executive order earlier this year was the first step at a quick repeal and replacement of Obamacare. That wasn't the case.

Essentially what Trump's order did was direct federal agencies to minimize the financial burden of Obamacare across a range of groups, including states and insurance companies.

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What does that mean? Not much for consumers.

An executive order can’t undo Obamacare. That’s a job for only Congress and lawmakers obviously can't seem to agree on a repeal or a replacement leaving Obamacare as law.

That means Americans still are required to have insurance or face penalties, so you still need to shop around for health insurance if you don't have any or are paying too much for your current policy.

Anyone who signed up for Obamacare during the last open enrollment will still be covered for the upcoming year.

How much is the penalty for not having insurance?

U.S. residents who skip insurance face a fine, and the Obamacare penalty for 2016 for a household is the greater of either: $695 per adult plus $347.50 per child or 2.5 percent of your household income minus the amount of the minimum filing threshold, which is the lowest income at which you need to file taxes. The same fines apply for 2017.

The penalty is capped at $2,085, the average annual premium for a Bronze health insurance plan sold in the ACA marketplace.

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If you didn't have health insurance in 2016, how much will you be fined? The penalty must be calculated in two ways, using the flat dollar amount and the income formula.

1. Flat dollar amount − Calculate the amount you’d owe based on paying the individual penalty amount of $695 for each adult plus $347.50 for each child under 18. Add those numbers for your household to get a total.

2. Income formula  Take your household income minus the minimum filing threshold amount for the year, which is the income above which the IRS requires you to file income taxes. The most recent number available, from 2015, is $10,300 for a single person and $20,600 for a married couple. Calculate 2.5 percent of that number to get a total.

Compare your flat dollar total to your income formula total. The larger number is your Obamacare penalty.

However, calculating the penalty is more complicated if you lacked health insurance for only part of the year. If you went without coverage for only one or two months, you won’t have to pay a penalty due to the short gap exemption.

To help crunch the numbers, insuranceQuotes has an Obamacare Penalty Calculator to help you easily understand the penalties.

Obamacare penalty calculator

Use our quick calculator to estimate your penalty for not having health insurance.

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