CHARLOTTE, N.C. – WCCB News @ Ten viewer Andy asks, “What does this mean for people who already have insurance? Are we going to have to pay more? Metrolina Medical Foundation Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Dr. William Brandon says, “Our insurance goes up every year because healthcare costs go up every year. But our premiums aren’t going to go up every year because of the Affordable Care Act. If anything, the Affordable Care Act gets people who don’t have health insurance into an insurance pool that they, with the help of the federal government subsidies, will supply insurance, and therefore access to the healthcare system. So people that would have previously been charity cases and therefore burdening the health care system and our hospitals and emergency rooms, they will now have a form of payment.”
WCCB News @ Ten viewer Jenston wants to know, “If I choose to the go the route of the fine instead, what exactly happens if I don’t pay or am late on the fine? Will interest be added on like taxes? If I don’t pay, will they be able to levy property, seize assets, freeze bank accounts and garnish wages just like the IRS?”
Dr. Brandon says, “Well, the IRS is collecting it, so my assumption is it will be treated as any other arrears on taxes. Um, so, I really don’t know specifically, but I would hope the federal government would try to collect its taxes and its penalties would be collected, too.”
And finally in this series, WCCB News @ Ten viewer Chris wonders, “Why are Obama and his family exempt?” Dr. Brandon says, “The reason Obama and his family are exempt from having to buy on the exchange is because they have employer-sponsored health insurance. There’s no special exemption for him. It’s just that…(for example) as an employee of the state, I’m covered by my employer’s insurance, I don’t have to sign up through the exchange.”
You can send WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty your questions through her Facebook page or Twitter account. We’re going to keep getting answers for you.