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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Brian Roi says he didn't sign up for health care coverage because he can't afford it.

"it doesn't work for me. I went to college. I have to pay all these student loans, still. I have credit card bills," Roi says.

Americans without the essential health coverage face a tax penalty next year. Tax expert Brian Haile says it could be much higher than they think.

"I think there has been much confusion about the penalty and so many people have thought or heard it's only going to be $95," he says. Brian Haile is the Senior Vice President for Health Policy with Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

It's actually $95 per person in a household or about one percent of income, which ever is higher.

A single person making $30,000 a year will pay about $199. If you make $50,000 a year, the penalty is around $399.

Roi expects he'll pay $350, but faces stiffer fines in the years ahead.

In 2015, the penalty jumps to $325 per person or two percent of income. In 2016, it's even higher.

"I'm just trying to stay healthy," Brian Roi says.

Roi says he would rather pay a fine than the $3,000 a year it would cost him for health care. But, he says he'll review his options when the penalties double.

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