Health insurance bill could penalize those who go without coverage

Failing to obtain health insurance could become an increasingly pricey proposition for many Americans.

Depending on what happens with an ongoing debate in Congress, Americans who fail to obtain health insurance coverage could find themselves facing serious financial penalties in the coming years.

In 2006, Massachusetts made news by adopting a law that imposed financial penalties on people who did not obtain health insurance, as a way of trying to achieve universal coverage in the state. Since then, the U.S. Congress has been increasingly eyeing a similar idea as part of its own sweeping overhaul of the healthcare system.

According to a recent Associated Press report, groups representing the insurance industry are pushing for any financial penalties that are approved to be substantial enough for people to take seriously.

The wire service cites the insurance industry's people that if the penalties are not strong enough, people will not necessarily try to obtain coverage until they are actually sick, which will then drive up rates across the board. Various figures and penalties are still said to be under consideration in Washington.

Whether or not such penalties are improved, consumers always find it in their best interests to try to obtain the best health insurance possible, especially given the rising cost of care and the importance of preventive medicine.

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Posted: October 8, 2009

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