Healthcare FAQs

The Affordable Care Act governing health insurance takes effect October 2013 and will change the rules that apply to health insurance. Many taxpayers will qualify for a new tax credit to help pay for their insurance or may qualify for free health insurance. That?s why Tax Mart has compiled a list of the frequently asked questions for your reference.

Our healthcare frequently asked questions will give you a better understanding of the law.

  • I get insurance through work. Will this affect me?

It can affect your current health insurance. Your current insurance may change if it is a high deductible plan or a minimum coverage plan. Changes can include:

An increase or change in the services covered and in your premiums. A decrease in your deductible, if you currently have an annual deductible higher than $2,000 ($4,000 for families)

your employer will have more information about this later in the year. As long as you have minimum insurance coverage, you will not be subject to a tax penalty for not having insurance, commonly called the Shared Responsibility Penalty.

  • What happens to me if I do not have health insurance right now?

There is no penalty in 2013. You only have to pay a penalty for the 2014 tax year if you do not have insurance in 2014. If you owe a penalty, you will pay it when you file your taxes in early 2015.

  • Will I have to pay a penalty? If so, how much will it be?

If you have qualifying health insurance, then you will probably not have to pay a tax penalty. If you do not have health insurance, then you might have to pay a penalty. Tax Mart can provide you with information about the potential penalty and how to avoid it.

  • What about my children ? how can I get them covered by insurance?

Many children under age 19 can get free insurance right now. To find out more, visit http://finder.healthcare.gov/. If your child is under age 27 and has no health insurance you can include their coverage in your current health insurance policy during the annual open enrollment period through your employer.

  • What are "Insurance Exchanges" ? and how will they work?

In order to offer affordable health insurance to everyone, new "Insurance Exchanges" will be created. These Insurance Exchanges are places in each state where you can buy health insurance.

  • Can I buy coverage from any exchange?

No. Make sure that you only buy insurance through the official exchange in your state. To find the exchange in your state, just visit http://www.healthcare.gov/ this Fall. You can also ask Tax Mart to help: just call us or visit one of our offices.

  • If I don?t have insurance now, will I be able to get it? If so, when?

Yes. You will be able to buy good health insurance on the new exchanges. The new exchanges are expected to open in late 2013. If you need health insurance now, you may be able to find coverage by going to http://finder.healthcare.gov/.

  • I buy my health insurance through an agent or from an insurance company. Will this affect me?

The new regulations set a high level of required services to be covered and require all medical conditions be covered from day one. Insurance can no longer exclude preexisting conditions or require a waiting period before coverage begins.

  • My insurance at work is too expensive. Can I get insurance from the exchange instead?

If the insurance at your job is very costly, then you may be able to buy cheaper insurance from the Exchange. However, the rules about this are complicated. You will need to check with the insurance exchange for your area once they are open, later this year, to find out if you qualify. You can also make an appointment with a Tax Mart representative to discuss your situation later this year.

  • My employer is dropping health insurance. What should I do?

Some employers may drop health insurance. If this happens where you work, then you may be able to buy good insurance through the new exchanges. The exchanges will offer affordable premiums for health insurance. You may even pay less than you pay now. As long as you have minimum insurance coverage, you will not be subject to a tax penalty for not having insurance.

  • I own a small business. Will I have to pay a penalty if I do not provide insurance to staff?

If your business has fewer than 50 workers, then you will generally not have to pay a penalty. However, the rules about this are complicated. Make an appointment to talk with a Tax Mart tax professional for more in-depth information about the requirements for small business owners.

The government is still developing the Affordable Care Act and new health insurance programs and will be closer to completion this Fall. The 2012 tax return you file this year will play an important role when this program rolls out next year and Tax Mart will always be available to help you understand this requirement.

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