The Law and Your Taxes
NOTE: This information is intended to provide you with a summary of the tax issues connected with the Affordable Care Act. This massive package of legislation contains varying effective dates, definitions, limitations, and exceptions that cannot be summarized easily. For details and guidance in applying the tax provisions of this law to your situation, seek professional assistance at Daniel W. Polachek. P.C. 413-584-5809
It’s massive, and it’s complicated. At more than 2,400 pages, the Affordable Care Act (ACA for short) has left businesses and individuals confused about what the law contains and how it affects them.
The aim of the law is to provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans. To reach that goal, the law requires large companies to provide health insurance for their employees starting in 2015, and uninsured individuals must get their own health insurance starting in 2014. Those who fail to do so face penalties.
Insurance companies must also deal with new requirements. For example, they cannot refuse coverage due to pre-existing conditions, preventive services must be covered with no out-of-pocket costs, young adults can stay on parents’ policies through age 26, and lifetime dollar limits on health benefits are not permitted.
The law mandates health insurance coverage, but not every business or individual will be affected by this requirement. Here’s an overview of who will be affected.
– It’s all in the numbers
Bottom line: the IRS is encouraging companies to comply in 2014 even though there are no penalties for failure to do so.
– It’s all about coverageCurrently, attention is focused on the health insurance exchanges or “Marketplace” that opened for business on October 1. Confusion about the Affordable Care Act has left many people thinking everyone has to deal with the exchanges. The fact is that if you are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or an employer-provided plan, you don’t need to do anything.Also, if you buy your health insurance on your own and are happy with your plan, you can keep your coverage. However, the only way to get any premium-lowering tax credits based on your income is to buy a plan through the Marketplace.
There will be four types of insurance plans to choose from: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The more expensive the plan, the greater the portion of medical costs that will be covered. The price of each plan will depend on several factors including your age, whether you smoke, and where you live.
Many individuals will qualify for federal tax credits which will reduce the premiums they actually pay. Each state’s Marketplace will have a calculator to assist individuals in determining the amount, if any, of their federal tax credit.
The penalty increases to $325 or 2% of income for 2015 and to $695 or 2.5% of income for 2016. For 2017 and later years, the penalty is inflation-adjusted. Those who choose not to be insured and to pay the penalty instead will still be liable for 100% of their medical bills.
NOTE: If you will be shopping for health insurance on the Marketplace, be aware that there’s no need to rush to enroll; the enrollment period runs from October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. Take the time you need to review your options and select what’s best for you and your family.
In addition to the penalties required by the Affordable Care Act, the law made other tax changes that could affect you. Among them are the following:
The Affordable Care Act may be one of the most complicated and confusing laws ever passed, but one thing is very clear: the law will affect the taxes of most Americans. In order to manage your tax bill, you will have to factor the new health care rules into your overall personal and business tax planning. For guidance, contact our office.