TurboTax: Most uninsured escaped ObamaCare penalty

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Nearly three in four people who lacked health insurance last year were exempt from the penalty under ObamaCare, according to data from the tax-filing software TurboTax.

A total of 70 percent of people filed an exemption to ObamaCare’s individual mandate, about the same figure as last year, according to TurboTax.

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The two most common exemptions were related to the cost of coverage. Many people without coverage said they couldn’t afford healthcare plans in their area or couldn’t afford plans through their workplace.

The other common exemptions were related to a recent eviction or the death of a family member.

The number of people seeking cost-related exemptions poses a challenge to the Obama administration, which has made affordability a central part of its strategy to reduce the uninsured.

But it also signals that more uninsured people may be learning about exemptions from the hefty penalty.

“The IRS reported that about 300,000 people who paid the penalty likely qualified for an exemption last year,” said Debra Hammer, TurboTax ACA spokeswoman.

Low-income individuals and families are offered thousands of dollars in subsidies, but some uninsured say it is not enough.

Those who do not qualify for an exemption were forced to pay a steeper penalty this year. The fee increased in 2015 to $325 per adult or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.