The first time people will actually pay the fine is in this coming tax season. Just one-third of people without health insurance said they were aware of the healthcare law’s penalty in a March 2014 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The administration estimates that as many as 6 million people will be forced to pay up this spring.
Many are confused when they are told of the penalty.
Peter Lee, the executive director of California’s exchange, said he has seen “thousands of cases of consumers who literally walked across the street from a tax advisor” to enroll in his state’s exchange.
The pressure on the administration is coming from advocacy groups, Democratic lawmakers and states that are extending or adding to their enrollment periods.