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Affordable Care Act

Going Bare? Calculate Tax Penalty

With the end of open enrollment for health coverage looming March 31, some of the uninsured may be planning to stay that way, hoping they won't get sick or injured. But remember the "individual mandate"? The day of reckoning is near.

Those who are over the poverty line and who don't enroll in a health plan by the end of the month will be in violation of the Affordable Care Act and will have to pay a penalty at tax time in 2015. The amount is about 1 percent of income, but it depends on several factors, including family size.

To see how much it would be, you can check the penalty calculator provided by the Tax Policy Institute, sponsored by the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.

The reason that the law requires the uninsured to obtain health coverage is that without the mandate, many people would wait until they get sick to buy it. Without healthy enrollees to balance out the sick, the cost of premiums would be prohibitively high.