The Blog Of TL Wall Accounting

Have You Purchased Health Care Coverage Yet?

There are more than 11 million people who have signed up for insurance through the government’s health exchange, also known as the Affordable Care Act. At this point in time more people have insurance coverage than ever before in the history of this country.

For those that don’t have coverage though, time is about to run out. We did a post on things to know about the ACA last year. What we didn’t cover in that article is the time frame that you need to have insurance coverage so you can avoid the penalty.

Basically, the law says that if you’re not covered for more than 3 consecutive months, you might have to pay a penalty. Last year it was 2 months, but they gave you until May to sign up for insurance coverage. You’re totally exempt if your income is below your tax filing threshold or if you were denied Medicaid coverage. You’re also exempt if coverage would cost more than 8% per person in your household.

Unfortunately, the open enrollment period is now over, but there is a special enrollment period that lasts through the end of April if you qualify for it. If you just forgot or had problems filling out the paperwork, it can’t hurt to check this out.

By the way, you need to remember that the penalties are added to your income, not how much you actually have to pay. As an example, if your income was $30,000 and you got hit with a 2% family penalty, it would mean your total tax would be based on $30,600. Maybe… because the penalty is the “greater” fee between 2% or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child. At least the maximum for a family is only $925.

Still, it’s always better to have insurance if you can afford it. Even with the high deductible plans, you’ll find that you’ll get some discounts on medical services that will help reduce your out of pocket costs. True, it’s a monthly bill that might cost you between $350 and $500 (depending on your state), but if you have kids it could save you money in the long run (and you might qualify for a discount if you have problems paying the premium based on your income). It’s at least worth exploring.
 

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