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Question on pre-existing condition on the Affordable Care Act

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I tried posting this question on another forum, but it just started a bashing contest so I'm asking to please take off the political hats for a second and try to just look at this objectively.


My wife and I currently make approximately $150k (we're in the SF Bay Area). We pay about $6k for our current health plan. My understanding of the plan is you can not be denied for a pre-existing condition. In addition, the penalty for not insuring in 2014 for us would be 1% of our income. If we max out on our 401K (we're over 50), that would bring our income down to just over $100k. Based on this, the penalty would be a little over $1k. If that is indeed the case, we would save $5k if we have a typical year where we didn't see the doctor, and if we had some medical emergency, we would only be out an additional $1k (assuming similar plan to what we have now). It honestly doesn't make sense to me why anyone in a situation like ours would buy insurance (and like most families, we could surely use the additional money to pay off debts). In addition, what is the long term viability of a program like this (clearly if people figure this out, it will bring in less money than people in this country currently pay for insurance). I'd appreciate any objective insight (no emotional responses please) anyone has on this. Cited sources would be appreciated.

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