As 2013 begins, many individuals are concerned about the individual mandate in the new health reform law taking effect January 1, 2014. This mandate does not force anyone to purchase insurance, however, it does implement a tax on individuals and families choosing to remain uninsured. There will be a penalty of no more than $285 per family or 1% of income and an increase to $975 or 2% of income a year later. By 2016, the penalty will increase to $2,085 per family or 2.5% of income. These increases will encourage the consumer to purchase health care rather than pay a penalty fee each year they choose to abstain from receiving coverage. A person may be uninsured for 3 months without incurring a penalty fee. Furthermore, this mandate is intended to ensure coverage for individuals and families who have not been able to receive insurance due to pre-existing conditions or other reasons for denial of health care coverage. For more information regarding the individual mandate, click here.