Talk to the Doc - The Basics

  • The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) has begun, with the goal of improving health care by ensuring everyone in America has affordable health care coverage. As a result of this law, passed in 2010 and being rolled out in phases, most Americans are required to have health insurance as of January 1, 2014 or face a tax penalty. Liberty Tax can help you learn more about how your choice of health plans will affect your taxes.

    What do taxes have to do with my health care?

    The IRS is responsible for making sure people follow the new laws. They’ll do this by requiring filers to report the value of their health plan on their tax return. For those who don’t have coverage, they will have to pay a penalty if they don't qualify for an exemption. Plan now to ensure you’re covered by consulting with a Liberty Tax advisor.

    Does this apply to everyone?

    The penalty does not apply to Native Americans, those with very low income and other select groups of people. Find out more »

    I don’t have health insurance – what now?

    If you’re not covered by and/or can’t afford an employer plan or a private health plan, you will be able to purchase your coverage from your state’s new health care exchange marketplace. Some families will be able to apply for Medicaid or CHIP, depending on income and other factors, even if they weren’t eligible for those programs in the past. For more information, click here.

    How much are the penalties?

    In 2014, the penalties will start at 1% of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. The penalties will increase each year through 2016, and most likely beyond that.

    There’s a lot of talk about penalties. What is the ACA doing to help me?

    The ACA has the goal of helping to control the increasing cost of health care and establishing affordable health insurance options. Under the law, insurance companies must now cover people with pre-existing conditions, cannot drop your coverage if you get sick, cannot put lifetime or yearly limits on your coverage, and will have their rate increases regulated. And by creating the Health Care Marketplace/Exchanges, the law aims to make it easier and more affordable for people to purchase and afford health coverage.

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