Estimates vary and depend on how much you make and where you live, but if you're buying health care yourself, your out-of-pocket costs will probably be at least a couple hundred bucks a month, give or take. The Kaiser Family Foundation's "subsidy calculator" estimates that a 26-year-old nonsmoker making $30,000 a year will pay $2,512 a year for the "silver plan." Although, if you fill out all of the paperwork, the feds could send you a check for about $500. If you smoke, the premium rises to over $4,000. (The subsidy stays the same.) Also, the more you make, the more your insurance will cost because the subsidies will get smaller.
Of course, the above is a pretty rosy scenario. The more young people who don't sign up, the higher the premiums will have to be to cover the costs of those who do. Many experts think the sky's the limit to how high prices will go.
And as prices go up, the whole thing might go down. Actuaries call this the "death spiral." The old and sick race to sign up, but the young and healthy opt to stay out. That causes prices to go up, and more people to drop out. And since the fine for not signing up is so much lower than premiums, lots of people will just wait until they're sick before buying insurance.
Now, that might be the smart play -- for cynics.
But you're not cynical. You didn't vote for Obama and cheer the passage of Obamacare because it was the cool thing to do. You did your homework. You want to share the sacrifice. You want to secure the president's legacy.
And now's your chance to prove it.
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