Just who's exempt from the individual mandate, and how will the IRS enforce it?

CQ HealthBeat examines who's exempt and how IRS enforcement of the mandate will shake out.

CQ HealthBeat: IRS Enforcement Of 'Individual Mandate' May Be Light
One of the most debated parts of the health care law is the requirement that most Americans buy insurance starting this year. … But it's not clear that the IRS will deploy much in the way of resources to aggressively search for individuals who don't get coverage this first year (Adams, 2/24).

CQ HealthBeat: Many Categories Exempt From Individual Mandate
The Obama administration and Congress exempted many Americans from the health insurance law's individual mandate. Those people who are either not required to have coverage or are automatically considered to have met the requirement include: Members of a religious sect that is recognized as conscientiously opposed to accepting any insurance benefits (Adams, 2/24).

Elsewhere, the enrollment push continues in California and some doctors' offices are finding long wait times -- on the phone with insurance companies --

Los Angeles Times: L.A. Community Colleges Urge Students To Sign Up For Obamacare
Danielle Alberts fell and broke her right ankle in three places in 2012. Alberts, who earns about $9,000 a year, went to the hospital and was charged nearly $4,000 for a shot and some pain medication. Alberts did not have health insurance. She refused a cast because it would have cost $500 more and she didn't have the money from her jobs as a security guard and caregiver. The ankle healed poorly, leaving her with a limp, and she wears a brace to keep the swelling down (Song, 2/24).

Kaiser Health News: New ACA Insurance Causes Headaches In Some Doctors' Offices
Sheila Lawless is the office manager at a small rheumatology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, about two hours outside of Dallas. She makes sure everything in the office runs smoothly -- scheduling patients, collecting payments, keeping the lights on. Recently she added another duty -- incorporating the trickle of patients with insurance plans purchased on the new Affordable Care Act exchanges. Open enrollment doesn't end until March 31, but people who have already bought Obamacare plans are beginning to use them. 'We had a spattering in January -- maybe once a week. But I think we're averaging two to three a day now,' says Lawless. That doesn't sound like many new customers, but it's presented a major challenge: verifying that these patients have insurance (Gold, 2/25).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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