‘Beats paying $10K’: Some uninsured opt for Obamacare fine over coverage: WSJ

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a moratorium for uninsured Americans to avoid paying a tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act may not be accomplishing its desired goal, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, as many citizens appear to be opting to pay a fine rather than sign up for coverage.

The Journal reported that the special enrollment period extended to taxpayers without insurance by the Obama administration just began, yet major tax preparation firms say their clients would rather pay the fine than get insurance.

Although its still early in the process—the extended deadline lapses in April—a senior executive at H&R Block told the publication that "a significant percentage of taxpayers" are opting to pay the penalty.

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A woman speaks with a health insurance agent regarding the Affordable Care Act.
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A woman speaks with a health insurance agent regarding the Affordable Care Act.

Separately, only 12 percent of uninsured people would buy policies if informed of the penalty, according to a survey of 3,000 adults polled by McKinsey & Co., cited by The Journal.

One taxpayer told the publication that it would be cheaper for him to pay the fine than buy insurance on the exchange, where he said the deductible was out of his price range.

"I think it's wrong I have to pay the penalty," Florida resident Richard Gonzalez told the paper. "But it beats paying more than $10,000 a year."

The Wall Street Journal's full report can be found here (note subscription required).