Money Talks News: What Happens If I Don't Buy Insurance

According to the CDC, 45.5 million Americans didn't have health insurance last year.

But the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, aims to change all that next year. How? With both carrots and sticks.

The stick? Fines. If you're not exempt from the law, and don't get insurance, you'll pay a fine when you file your 2014 taxes. For individuals, it's $95, or 1 percent of your income, whichever's greater.

But that goes up every year: By 2016, it's $695 or 2.5 percent of income. You'll also pay a fine for not insuring your children: $47.50 per child, with the max being 285 bucks for 2014.

Now, many have argued they don't need to buy the insurance.

Paying the fine is cheaper, and since insurance companies can no longer turn you down, they'll wait till they get sick before you buy it.

There's only one problem with that logic: Have a car crash or heart attack and you could wake up here with a hundred thousand dollar bill. It's going to be a little late for you to shop for coverage then, isn't it?

The new law also may help you pay your premiums. Depending on what you earn, you might qualify for subsidies: that's the carrot.

Bottom line... everyone should have health insurance.

And the new law provides both stick and carrot to encourage you to.

What you need now is to see if you're going to qualify for free help from Uncle Sam.

Just go to and do a search for "Obamacare."For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.