U.S. President Barack Obama put the Health Care Reform into law on March 23, 2010. Since it has come into effect, the Obama administration has made many adjustments and tweaks to the Affordable Care Act. Among them, two recent decisions – one to allow Congress to continue paying for health benefits, and another, to delay enforcement of the employer mandate until 2015 – have raised questions about how far that discretion should go.
With so many controversies and debates going on Health Care Reform, it is obvious that many among you might be confused on how this law will impact on your taxes and finances. Featured here are few things that you should know whether you have a health insurance or not.
1. Affordable Options for Uninsured
The uninsured Americans will be able to start shopping for affordable health insurance by visiting online health insurance marketplaces from October 1, 2013 onwards.
2. Expanded Insurance Coverage
The coverage will not be denied for those having pre-existing medical conditions. Rather, the law extends the coverage to young adults who can now stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26. Moreover, people under age 65 and having a yearly income less than $15,300, or $31,155 for a family of four, will now be offered Medicaid under this law.
3. Eligibility for Government Subsidy to Help Cover Insurance Costs
Those purchasing health insurance online and having a yearly income not greater than $45,960, or $94,200 for a family of four, may be eligible for Government Subsidy (that would be available in the form of a Tax Credit) to help cover your insurance costs.
4. Penalty for those not insured before March 31, 2014
Most uninsured citizens and legal residents of US will be required to purchase health insurance by March 31, 2014. For those not doing so, a penalty will be levied on your 2014 tax return (filed in 2015). The penalty scenario for 2014 is – $95 per adult and $47.50 per child. The fee is capped at $285 or 1% of household income. The penalty will be increased every year. In 2016, the fine rises to $695 per adult and will be capped at $2,085 or 2.5% of income. No penalty will be levied for a gap in coverage for less than 3 months.
5. Already Insured People Covered under the Law
If you are having a health insurance through the employer, be it Medicare or Medicaid, you need not to purchase health insurance through online marketplaces. You are already covered.
6. Call Center for Small Businesses Seeking Coverage
The administration has also launched a special call center at 800-706-7893 for small businesses seeking coverage under the law. Now, small firms will have access to marketplaces designed especially for them, and some of them may be eligible for tax credits as well.
Supporters see this law as an expanding opportunity for health care. Whereas critics, who have dubbed this act as “Obamacare,” take it as a dangerous expansion of government power. The good thing about the new health care law is that it makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, cutting costs, and improving care for patients (as featured on the White House’s website).