Half of Americans still unaware of Obamacare mandate penalty

Half of Americans still unaware of Obamacare mandate penalty

Tax Day is less than a month away, but many Americans are unaware Obamacare’s tax penalty goes into effect this year — or that they have extra time to sign up for coverage.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Thursday found that while slightly more than half of respondents were aware the penalty kicks in this year, one in five think it goes into effect next year, roughly one in six say they don’t know when it goes into effect, and one in 10 believe it was rolled out last year.

If people are penalized, it’s because they lacked health coverage last year and didn’t qualify for an exemption from the healthcare law’s requirement to buy insurance. Even if they buy coverage this year, that wouldn’t erase the penalty they’d have to pay for lacking coverage last year.

The Obama administration is still providing them with an extra signup period that started on Sunday and lasts until April 15. But officials have acknowledged there are challenges in getting that key demographic to sign up.

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