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Are you exempt from Obamacare?

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- As thousands of people in the Borderland rush to buy a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act by Mondays looming deadline, there are some people who will be off the hook.

This weekend, Project Amistad marketplace navigators helped hundreds of El Pasoans sign up for affordable health care.  It's all so they get coverage and don't have to face the penalty come tax time next year of $95 or 1 percent of their household income.  
 
That's per-adult and half of that per minor, said Rosalda Hernande, the lead navigator at Project Amistad.
 
For some people, though, even the most affordable health insurance isnt affordable, and theyre worried what will happen to them.
 
I am currently unemployed after losing my job of six years.  I had medical insurance with my job, but obviously now I can't afford anything, Cindy Loo wrote on the KFOX14 Facebook page.
 
Hernandez said Loo and other people who wont be purchasing an insurance plan by Mondays deadline shouldn't feel pressured to scrape up that extra cash to pay the penalty.
 
They're going to be exempt, said Hernandez. A one-member household must earn at least $11,490 in order to be able to purchase the insurance.  So if they're not earning that much then they would be exempt from the penalty.
 
For a two-person household, Hernandez said if someone rakes in less than $15,510, they too will be exempt. 
 
While some people say theyre thankful for these exemptions, others are singing a different tune.

"Obama is taking care of the rich, not the poor, Jessica Lizardo wrote on our KFOX14 Facebook page.
 
For people who can afford insurance now and purchase a plan, if they unexpectedly lose their job within the next few months, Hernandez said, You need to report your changes - your income changes, especially because your subsidy amounts. If you did qualify for the assistance, those will be adjusted accordingly.
 
Hernandez said this should lower someones monthly payments.  If someone who recently lost their job and already earned the minimum yearly income, though, theyll have to buy insurance or face the penalty.
 
For those who are hurrying to sign up by Monday's deadline, they may have a little extra time. As KFOX14 reported, people can log on to the government website www.healthcare.gov and request an extension. Hernandez said an extension gives someone until the middle of April to buy a plan, if theyre not already exempt.
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