What is the Penalty for not Purchasing Health Insurance

For those on the fence, here are the penalties for not purchasing health insurance coverage

This is vital information for those who are on the fence about whether they should purchase coverage or not. Beginning in 2020, the California individual mandate required that all California residents maintain minimum essential health coverage (MEC) for each month of the year.

If you haven’t had health insurance for whatever reason, it’s important to understand the penalties for what happens down the line when filing taxes. While this is focusing on Californians, individuals in states across the country could be affected in similar ways.


People might wonder why the U.S. government emphasizes health insurance. In summary, there are two primary reasons to have health insurance:

• Health insurance supports you if you get sick
• Health insurance helps you avoid getting sick to begin with

Health Insurance Supports You if You Get Sick.

Most people can’t pay for all their health care out-of-pocket and opt to put it on a debit or credit card. But that’s just another financial burden that’ll have to be addressed at some point.

Health insurance provides financial protection in case you have a serious accident or illness.

For example, a broken leg can cost up to $7,500 — who has that amount of money just laying around to be used, and on a broken leg, at that? Chances are, if you’ve got $7,500 to put toward a broken leg, you’re better off paying for monthly health coverage, as it can help protect you from those high, unexpected costs.

Read more about the benefits of having health insurance coverage here and here.

Health Insurance Helps You Avoid Getting Sick to Begin With (the “I don’t need health insurance because I don’t get sick” Debate)

Does this sound familiar? Some of us have shared similar thoughts in the past, and this is especially the case with individuals who pay attention to their health, eat well, exercise on a regular basis, and simply don’t get sick often.

But forgoing health insurance coverage still isn’t recommended.

You might think that signing up for health insurance, paying a monthly premium, and not getting sick or receiving any health care is a loss of money. But it isn’t.

  • There are many health insurance benefits you can use even without getting sick, such as vaccinations and checkups, that help keep you healthy over the long run.
  • Even if you don’t get into an accident, have large health care costs, or need to use your health insurance benefits, you still get the peace of mind of knowing that, if you had gotten sick, you wouldn’t be facing all those medical costs on your own.

So, what happens if you don’t have health insurance coverage? Well, your taxes will be affected.


MEC includes employer sponsored insurance, individual market coverage purchased through Covered California or directly from issuers, Medicare Parts A and C, and most Medi-Cal coverage.

Those who do not meet this requirement must pay a penalty on their state income tax return unless they qualify for an exemption.

For 2021, the amount of the penalty for not having qualifying health insurance has increased. As a reminder, there are two methods of calculating the penalty, and a household will pay whichever calculation yields the larger penalty:

• A flat amount based on the number of people in the household – $800 per adult 18 years or older and $400 per dependent child for no coverage for an entire year; up to an annual max of $2,400.
• A percentage of the household income – 2.5% of all gross household income over the tax filing threshold.
• The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) launched the individual mandate penalty estimator in 2020 to help consumers calculate the penalty they may owe if they go without qualifying health coverage.


Exemptions mean the fee for not having health insurance no longer applies. Here are the exemptions:

  • If you’re 30 or older and want a “Catastrophic” health plan, you must apply for a hardship exemption to qualify. See details about exemptions and catastrophic coverage.
  • If you live in Maryland, visit Maryland Health Connection for information on exemptions.
  • If you live in the District of Columbia, visit DC Health Link.
  • If you live in California, visit Covered California.

Let’s talk briefly about that final point geared toward Californians. According to the official CoveredCA.com website: “Covered California is a free service that connects Californians with brand-name health insurance … [providing] financial help when you buy health insurance from well-known companies.”

We encourage you to check out the website to learn more about your health coverage options.

And if you have more questions, reach out to us for more information; we’ll be happy to help. https://www.bdhealthinsurance.com/contact-bernardini-donovan-insurance/

Free COBRA health insurance ends Sept. 30: 3 options for the unemployed

COBRAs premium health insurance ends Sept 30

Overview: Unemployed? Here are 3 things you could do when your COBRA’s premium health insurance ends Sept. 30

  • Switch to an Affordable Care Act policy once your free coverage ends

  • Qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP)

  • Talk to your plan administrator and/or former employer

COBRA health insurance ends Sept. 30When Sept. 30 rolls around, it’ll be goodbye to that premium health coverage from COBRA and hello to many, many questions (and a bit of financial panic for the unemployed). But we’ll start by saying you shouldn’t panic — there are options that unemployed individuals could and should begin to consider now.

Keep these things in mind: It’s true that after Sept. 30, the group health plan can charge the usual COBRA premium for the coverage. And the premium assistance lasts through Sept. 30 but may end sooner if you reach the end of your maximum COBRA continuation coverage period which is, generally, 18 months.


Option 1: Switch to an Affordable Care Act policy once your free coverage ends.

The special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act coverage ends Aug. 15. Here’s why it’s a useful option: ACA policies — by contrast to COBRA coverage — are typically subsidized with tax credits that make the coverage more affordable.

In one particular case, a spouse lost their job and was on COBRA continuation coverage for health insurance. They didn’t have to pay the premiums (through Sept. 30) as a result of the American Rescue Plan (passed in March). The question was asked if there was anything available on Oct. 1 if the spouse was still unemployed by that time.

The American Rescue Plan requires employers to pay COBRA premiums for eligible former employees for April through September. The employers will be reimbursed through a tax credit. (The subsidy may last fewer than six months if someone’s COBRA eligibility ends before September, or if they become eligible for group coverage through their job or their spouse’s job.)

When the premium-free coverage ends, the spouse would qualify for a special enrollment period that allows them to switch to an Affordable Care Act policy. Not only that, but anyone who is unemployed at any point during 2021 will qualify for a premium-free comprehensive policy through the ACA for the rest of the year.

Related reading(s): What you need to do when free health insurance for unemployed people ends Sept. 30

Option 2: Qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP) to enroll in individual market health insurance coverage, such as through a Health Insurance Marketplace®.

When your COBRA premium assistance ends, you may be eligible for a SEP to enroll in coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace®, or to enroll in individual health insurance coverage outside of the Marketplace. You may also qualify for a SEP when you reach the end of your maximum COBRA coverage period. Below are links to additional information.

  • For more information about enrolling in Marketplace coverage, see:

    • HealthCare.gov

    • Or you can call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

If your state has its own Marketplace platform, find contact information for your State Marketplace here:

You may apply for and, if eligible, enroll in Medicaid coverage at any time. For more information, go to:


Option 3: Talk to your plan administrator and/or former employer

Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said some employers and COBRA administrators were still working out the details. If you believe you are eligible for the subsidy that ends after Sept. 30 and haven’t received a notice with the required forms, you can notify your former employer. In more detail, Pollitz encourages individuals to:

  1. Notify their former employer

  1. Fill out and sign this form, published by the Department of Labor

    1. Turn the form into your plan administrator if you’re already enrolled in COBRA

    2. Send the form to your former employer if you’re trying to sign up

Pollitz said if you have a relationship with your provider, you could also ask if it’s possible to wait a little longer to bill your insurer until the COBRA coverage kicks in.

Related reading(s): Stimulus Provides Free COBRA Health Insurance for Unemployed; What You Need to Know


Remember: The Affordable Care Act is over 60,000 pages long. Medicare is written over tens of thousands of pages. And Insurance Laws and Regulations are profoundly extensive. So if you’re wondering what to do when COBRA’s premium health insurance ends, we can help.

We understand that there is not a single “best” plan when it comes to health insurance — and it’s even more complicated when unemployment is involved. And we understand that your needs are unique.

This is where we come in. Contact us to get your questions answered! We’ll offer our expertise in health insurance so you’re taken care of during these complicated times.


Do You Need Your Own Health Insurance After 26?


 HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER 26Many have wondered what to do about health insurance after they turn 26. For many young adults, you might also wonder: Can you stay on your parent’s health insurance after 26?

With the spread of COVID-19, health care is more critical now more than ever. One shouldn’t skip health insurance to save money simply because they think that they’re young and healthy…that mindset could be misleading and ultimately dangerous. The fact of the matter is: Sooner or later, everyone needs health insurance. So, what options are available when it comes to finding health insurance for 26-year-olds?

If you’re 26 and need health insurance coverage, we at Bernardini & Donovan can help. We offer health and medical insurance services in the Inland Empire and are happy to assist individuals who have questions about health insurance for 26-year-olds.

Being properly informed about health insurance might not be the first thing on the minds of young adults. And it could be easy to overlook those conversations if someone is on their parents’ health insurance plan. But, once adulting kicks in, graduating, moving out, getting a job, and turning 26–it’s important to consider what health insurance options exist for you.

Can You Stay on Your Parents Health Insurance After 26

If you’re under 26, you may be able to get covered on a parent’s health insurance plan. This applies to you even if you are at school, not living at home, eligible for an employer’s plan, or not financially dependent on your parents. It even applies to you if you are married. However, after you turn 26, things change.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare or the ACA, opened the door for many people to get health insurance who previously didn’t have access. A provision of the law allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. As a result, millions of young adults became eligible to have health insurance on their parents’ plans who wouldn’t have qualified otherwise.

This, however, this means you need to start considering options for health insurance before your 26th birthday because your coverage on your parent’s plan ends, and eventually you do need your own coverage.

If your 26th birthday is right around the corner, you might have a lot of questions to consider, especially if you’ve never had to purchase your own insurance and if you’re struggling financially.

The marketplace. Bernardini & Donovan is a Certified Agent of the Health Insurance Marketplace. We can help you independently compare health insurance plans based on what’s important to you. We are a storefront for the Marketplace and that means we offer capabilities beyond ordinary agents. Our experts will explore if you can get lower costs on your monthly premium and if you qualify for lower out-of-pocket costs. For those who are on a budget, you’ll also find out if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage available through different sources.

Applying for coverage. After you select the plan that is right for you, our team will guide you through the application process. You’ll need your income information, ID, proof of citizenship or lawful presence, social security information, and ZIP code.

Regardless of when your parents’ plan ends your coverage, if you’re 26 and need health insurance, you’ll have a 120-day special enrollment window in which to buy a new health insurance policy on the marketplace for ACA plans. During this time, which begins 60 days before you turn 26 and ends 60 days after, you can purchase a new medical plan. If you are buying an individual plan that is not on the ACA marketplace, you have 30 days after you turn 26.

While talking about health insurance could be intimidating, there are also practical resources available for assistance. If you’re in the Riverside area or surrounding areas, the Bernardini & Donovan team can offer health insurance guidance. Receiving assistance on these matters might benefit you especially during the recent pandemic where there are heightened concerns surrounding people’s health.

What to do About Health Insurance After 26

Now that it’s established whether or not you can stay on your parent’s health insurance plan after turning 26, what are your options? When you’re ready to purchase your own health insurance, you have several options. You can enroll in a health insurance plan offered by your school or you can speak to someone in Human Resources about enrolling in a healthcare plan provided by your employer.

Student health insurance: If you’re attending a college or university, you may be able to enroll in that school’s student health insurance plan. These plans tend to be relatively inexpensive and are a good option if your parents don’t have health insurance, you don’t want to stay enrolled under their plan, you’re 26 and need health insurance or other reasons.

You can find out if your school offers health insurance options by poking around your school’s website or calling the financial aid office.

Employer health plan: If your employer offers coverage, it’s a good idea to look at what they offer.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until you’re 26 to enroll in one of the health insurance plans offered by your employer. Depending on where you live and what you can afford, the coverage your employer offers may suit your situation better than your parents’ insurance plan.

Short-term health plans: Health plans that last less than a year can help you bridge the gap until you enroll in a regular health plan. Just keep in mind that short-term plans won’t provide the same comprehensive coverage as a traditional insurance plan and are best only in case of a major medical event.

Nonetheless, this option might be the most feasible for those who don’t know what to do about personal health insurance, aren’t sure about their finances, but still need coverage.

26 and Need Health Insurance? You’re Covered

At Bernardini & Donovan, our job is to simplify your health insurance needs. With our health insurance services, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you have health insurance.

Now more than ever before, the issue of healthcare has been thrust into our everyday lives. For a lot of people, the more you hear about the issue of healthcare, the more complicated it appears to be.

With more than 30 years of experience in the health insurance field, the Bernardini & Donovan team is proud to have established long-lasting and trusted relationships with all of the major carriers throughout California and Colorado.

If you’re 26 and need health insurance coverage, or you’re no longer on your parent’s coverage and have questions on what to do, Bernardini & Donovan Insurance Services has the answers to any questions you may have.

American Heart Month

American Heart Month Blog Cover

American Heart Month

Living healthfully is one of the best forms of health insurance. There are countless ways in which we all can give ourselves the best chance for a long and happy life with simple, health-conscious lifestyle modifications. We at Bernardini and Donovan strongly believe in the value of good health and the protection of oneself from preventable conditions. And out of recognition for the importance of a healthy way of life, this February, we celebrate American Heart Month!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. It is responsible for one in four deaths every year and is seen in all ages. As heart disease has become an epidemic among Americans, it is crucial that we implement the necessary measures of prevention. So this February, look out for ways to celebrate American Heart Month in the promotion of good heart health.

Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate!

  1. Take the #MoveWithHeartPledge and pledge to be more physically active in the promotion of your heart health.
  2. Start a walking or jogging club in your neighborhood.
  3. Wear red on the first Friday of February to raise awareness for heart health and the prevention of heart disease.
  4. Speak out on social media about your commitment to heart health so to encourage your friends and followers to maintain their health.
  5. Modify your cooking! Finding heart-healthy recipes with a simple Google search is easy. Even some of your favorite dishes can be prepared healthfully!


We hope that you’ll join us for this critical time of health promotion and taking action for disease prevention. Treat your body with exceptional care and give yourself the best chance at a full and happy life!

What Happens After You Lose an Organ

What Happens After You Lose an Organ
This can sound like an ominous subject.

But the matter of the fact is that many people have different organs removed on a consistent basis. We are not talking about the vital organs like the lungs or liver. But we do regularly hear of people who have their gallbladder, tonsils, appendix or pancreas removed. So what happens after that? What is life like without these organs that you were born with?

Most people have their tonsils removed after having some complications with tonsillitis or suffering from sleep apnea.

Your appendix would only be removed if it has become infected. For both of these procedures, there is not much that will change in your day to day life. You should not suffer from sore throats as much if you have your tonsils out, and there will be no change good or bad when you have the appendix removed.

If you are getting your gallbladder removed, you most likely have had some issues with gallstones.

Passing a gallstone can be an excruciating process and if it should get stuck on the way out it can lead to some severe health issues. When your gallbladder is removed, you can no longer store bile in the same way. Bile helps break down fatty foods. Therefore, after getting your gallbladder removed, you would need to plan on changing your diet. All high-fat foods can lead to some potential problems for you, but you will also want to make sure that you are cutting down on foods that can cause gas as well. One of the more severe organs to get removed is your pancreas. Because the pancreas produces the insulin that your body needs to respond to glucose levels, when you get it removed you come out of the surgery a diabetic. This change will affect your diet, exercise and health care needs for the rest of your life.

These are all issues that could have an effect on the type of health insurance coverage that you may need. If you have gone through a primary medical procedure in the last year that will require more medical attention for you in the future, please talk to us for the best insurance coverage for your current health needs.

The Numbers on Addiction

The numbers on Addiction

The Numbers on Addiction

There is much to be said about the many diseases that affect our country.
Often viewed as a disease while not given the same attention, addiction can take a deadly tole on a person’s life. Here are some addiction facts that show how widespread this issue continues to be:


Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction (excluding tobacco).
100 people die every day from drug overdoses. This rate has tripled in the past 20 years.
2.6 million people with addictions have a dependence on both alcohol and illicit drugs.
Rates of illicit drug use are highest among those aged 18 to 25.
Over 90% of those with addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18.
(source: Addiction Center)One of the fastest growing drug abuses has been the opioid Fentanyl. This is a drug that is used to treat pain after surgery. In the last 7 years abuse of this drug has grown significantly. Where it once was only associated in 14% of opioid overdose deaths, that number was raised to 50%.

Smoking and alcohol addiction still lead to some severe health issues. But addiction to these substances often goes untreated because it is legal to purchase and many do not think that they have a real problem with it. It is estimated that over 95% of people who need treatment for alcoholism do not feel they need treatment. But more people receive treatment for alcoholism than any other substance. There is a cost to these addictions. Including healthcare costs, loss of productivity and other aspects, Tobacco addiction costs the US over $190 billion. And tobacco-related deaths far exceed in number any other substance-related death.

If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, please get help. You can reach out to a variety of organizations including SAMHSA which has a 24/7 365-days a year treatment referral and information service. 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free and confidential treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

If you are uncertain what your insurance covers in terms of rehabilitation or issues with mental health or addiction, please call us today


business health insurance


Technology is part of our everyday lives.

Even when you may not realize its encompassing hold on your life, it is very much present. For many, their daily dose of technology comes in the form of screens. Most likely a computer screen, tablet screen or cell phone screen. While being on a computer is not a dangerous activity, it can be harmful to your eyes.

When you are staring at a screen for extended times during the day, your eyes can become dry and overstrained.

The reason for this is that we tend not to blink as much when looking at a screen as opposed to reading a book. Every time that you blink you are replenishing any moisture that has escaped while your eyes are open. Also, when you read, you tend to look down so that most of your eye is covered by the lid. When looking at a screen, you tend to look straightforward, so more of your eye is exposed.

There is also blue light that is emitted from screens.

Blue light during the day can actually help with your circadian rhythm, and help you be more alert during the daytime. However, if you are spending a reasonable amount of time looking at a screen before bed, it can keep you up at night. There are also studies being done that blue light can affect children more than adults.

If you have noticed that you are experiencing headaches, dry eyes, eye strain, trouble sleeping or back pain; there are a few exercises you can do to help.
Make sure you are taking regular breaks from staring at your screens. A good rule of thumb is every 20 minutes stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Make sure that you are blinking regularly. You can also adjust the blue light on your phone at night. If you are still experiencing issues, please get a comprehensive eye exam. A doctor will be able to let you know what other changes you may need to make.

Seeing in 20/20 

vision health insurance

Seeing in 20/20

There are many that know the value of health insurance and how it helps you to be able to get care for you and your loved ones.

There are some who go without it, but most people would at least want to have health insurance. But that thought process does not always extend to vision insurance. It is recommended that you get your eyes checked every two years, but without the insurance, many pass over this timeline. If you are in need of corrective lenses then you are supposed to have your eyes checked yearly. This is where having vision insurance is very helpful.

Vision insurance works a bit differently than health insurance in that it can be more of a discount program.

You hope to use your “insurance” to help offset cost rather than hope that insurance will cover your expenses if something should happen like you would with car or homeowners insurance.

If you are looking at vision insurance there are a few basics that you will want to make sure are covered.

Those basics include an eye exam, glasses, and contacts. But depending on the type of insurance, the discounts available or even the timing of when your coverage kicks in can change. Some plans will only offer glasses every two years for example. You should also pay attention to any extras that would come with your plan. Will it cover transition lenses or daily contacts? Small extras that cost extra may add up on your final bill and it is important to know what will come from our out of pocket expenses.

If you or a family member have a need for vision insurance please speak to us. We can inform you on all of the ins and outs of various plans to find the best fit for your needs. We love to make your insurance work for you.

Will They, Won’t They – Immunization Edition

health insurance

Will They, Won’t They – Immunization Edition

If you’ve ever dipped your toe into the vaccination debate you are bound to find some highly impassioned arguments. Each side will call out logical fallacies and pull out research to prove their points. In this blog, we will talk about the objections that are given over getting your child vaccinated.

Parents who chose to not get their children vaccinated will cite research that shows that vaccines have a higher chance of not helping your child become immunized but will instead infect the child.

They will also point out that illnesses that have been wiped out by vaccinations were already in decline by the time the vaccine was invented. For example, polio was already in vast decline because of better hygiene and understanding of how illnesses spread before the vaccine was made public. They will point out that vaccines not only have trace amounts of the bacteria or virus but will also have toxins like formaldehyde or mercury.

But probably the most talked about aspect of vaccine objections is the subject of autism.

In its shortest form, the argument is that vaccines cause autism. Parents may even know a couple who had a happy and healthy child who was vaccinated and changed drastically after the injection. The child has now been diagnosed with autism. While there are many different studies that have shown that there is no direct correlation between vaccinations and autism, this fear has kept many parents from choosing to get their child vaccinated. The theory behind vaccinations is that they are perfectly safe and will help your child from getting a terrible illness. However, many parents are not willing to risk the livelihood of their child on a theory.

Every parent loves their child and wants the best for them. When it comes to vaccines, you need to make the best decision for your child. Talk to your friends, talk to your doctor, talk to your partner, do your research, be informed.  We are in no way trying to pose an opinion in the blog and just want to look at this issue. We care about the health and wellness of all of our clients and hope to help you find the best healthcare for your needs.

Immunizations & What They’re For

health insurance

Immunizations & What They’re For

Immunizations have caused quite a stir in the last past and in some circles are still a point of contention.

An immunization is actually the end product but is synonymous with a vaccine. A vaccine usually comes in the form of an injection that includes small amounts of a bacteria, virus or lab-based protein. The idea behind vaccinations is that when a small amount of this harmful bacteria or virus is injected, the body’s immune system is triggered. It starts to create antibodies that will fight off whatever was in the injection. That way if the person should come in contact with a full-blown strain of the disease the body is more prepared to fight it off or completely keep the body from being overwhelmed by the illness.


The majority of people who are given vaccines are children from the ages of 0-6.

During that time, most children will receive a vaccine for Hepatitis B, Rotavirus, Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus influenza type B, Pneumococcal, Poliovirus, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox, and Hepatitis A. The reason that these are given to children is because there was a period of time not that long ago when thousands of children would suffer or die from these diseases each year. With the invention of the vaccine for these infections, many of them have become obsolete like the mumps, smallpox or polio. Another reason why these vaccines are recommended is that it is more cost effective to prevent a disease than to treat it. Most of these are highly infectious diseases and to treat a mass amount of people infected by these is very expensive.

While many of you may be aware of the mechanics of immunizations you may have also heard that there is a movement of people who do not want to give their children vaccines. To read more about this topic, please read our next blog “Will They, Won’t They.”

At Bernardini & Donovan, we are dedicated to giving you more information about your health and your health care. If you have any questions about your health care insurance please feel free to call us.

Our website uses cookies and thereby collects information about your visit to improve our website (by analyzing), show you Social Media content and relevant advertisements. Please see our cookies page for furher details or agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.

Cookie settings

Below you can choose which kind of cookies you allow on this website. Click on the "Save cookie settings" button to apply your choice.

FunctionalOur website uses functional cookies. These cookies are necessary to let our website work.