About 35 percent of uninsured people in the United States would rather pay a fine than buy coverage under ObamaCare, according to a new Gallup poll.
The number of people defying the individual mandate has grown over the last year, increasing 6 percentage points since last November, according to the polling data released Thursday.
The decision is partly tied to a person’s political views: 44 percent of Republicans said they were more likely to pay the fine, compared to 31 percent of Democrats.
Those who do not obtain insurance will face a fine of at least $325 in 2015, depending on their income. The penalty is more than double that of the previous year, though about the same number of people said they planned to get coverage.
“So either the amount of the fine is still not high enough to compel the uninsured to get coverage — or the uninsured may be unaware of the stiffer penalty in 2015 for being uninsured,” Gallup managing editor Jeffrey Jones wrote.
About 30 percent of people said they did not know about the fee for the individual mandate, according to the poll of about 1,000 people.
A majority of the insured, 55 percent, said they did plan on buying insurance, with most people planning to buy coverage through the government-run exchanges. One-fifth of people said they didn’t know where they would get insurance, though they planned to.
The individual mandate first went into effect in January 2014. Within a year from now, the penalties will increase to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of a family’s income, whichever is greater.
The second year of ObamaCare sign-ups will begin Saturday. While 7.1 million people signed up for coverage last year, this year’s enrollment period is several months shorter. The government has already predicted that getting people to sign up will be tougher.
The government has estimated that as many as 6 million people could be hit with fines by 2016.
Most of the 41 million Americans who remain uninsured are also poor, healthcare experts have said. Government officials have predicted the fines would sting just enough to prompt people to gain coverage.
Still, not everyone will face a fine. About 80 percent of uninsured people will be exempt from the mandate, the Congressional Budget Office has predicted.
By Sarah Ferris