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Obamacare penalty eliminated for U.S. tax paying crew

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By Maria Karlsson

Since Jan. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) has eliminated the shared responsibility payment — more commonly known as the individual mandate — that penalizes U.S. tax-paying individuals not covered by a health care plan that provides at least minimum essential coverage, as outlined in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).

Individuals will no longer be penalized for failing to obtain acceptable health insurance coverage.

This is great news for the yachting industry since most U.S. domestic policies are not flexible enough for our industry and lifestyle.

U.S. domestic plans usually don’t cover work-related injuries and accidents on a yacht, nor do they offer in-network benefits outside the area or state in which you sign up, and coverage outside the U.S. is limited to emergency treatment, and if at all while spending extended periods of time abroad.

Additionally, the U.S. deductibles, co-insurance and annual out-of-pocket max are outrageously high, and the plans are unaffordable, especially for families. The monthly premium is often comparable to a mortgage payment.

Now, yacht crew can finally enroll into a health care plan that’s suitable for their needs, a policy that covers worldwide, while working onboard, taking courses, on vacation and between jobs. Furthermore, they will most likely have better coverage for lower premium.

I urge all crew to review their policy wording carefully or ask a licensed insurance professional for assistance.

Maria Karlsson is president of Superyacht Insurance Group in Fort Lauderdale. Comments are welcome below.

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