More Obamacare Tax-Time Lessons

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

By Emily Bazar, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

The second round of Obamacare open enrollment is over, but your paperwork may not be.

It’s tax time.

And as I suspected, this is shaping up to be a stressful period for many Californians who remained uninsured or purchased health insurance from Covered California.

Q: I had a Covered California plan for eight months last year before I moved to Texas. But I still haven’t received a 1095-A form from Covered California. What should I do?

A: When Travis Choma, 35, moved from California to Dallas in August, he arranged to cancel his Covered California health plan and start a new plan from the federal health insurance exchange, ( Continue reading

Filing Your Taxes? Here’s How To Prove You Have Health Insurance

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

By Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News

In addition to the normal thrills and chills of the income tax filing season, this year consumers have the added excitement of figuring out how the health law figures in their 2014 taxes.

The good news is that for most people the only change to their normal tax filing routine will be to check the box on their Form 1040 that says they had health insurance all year.

“Someone who had employer-based coverage or Medicaid or Medicare, that’s all they have to do,” says Tricia Brooks, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families.

The law requires people to have “minimum essential coverage,” but most types of insurance qualify. Continue reading

Why Obamacare Means One of the Most Complicated Tax Seasons Ever

This is the first year people without health insurance could face big penalties. (Getty Images)

This is the first year people without health insurance could face big penalties. (Getty Images)

By April Dembosky

Most days in early January, tax preparation offices are dead. Most people won’t get their W-2 or other tax documents until later this month.

It’s all about the penalty for not having health insurance.

But at one H&R Block office in San Francisco, office manager Sue Ellen Smith is expecting things to pick up fast. The IRS commissioner declared back in November that this tax season will be one of the most complicated ever.

“This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way,” Smith said.

This is the first year that people who do not have health insurance will have to pay a fine, and Smith says that fine could be bigger than most people expect.

She takes the example of Ray and Vicky. They’re a fictional couple from an H&R Block flier. Together they earn $65,000 a year. Neither has health insurance. Continue reading

Just in Time for Tax Day: What This Year’s Taxes Have To Do With Next Year’s Obamacare

By John M. Gonzales, CHCF Center for Health Reporting

Tax Form with Stethoscope

The income you declare this year will be used to determine if you’re eligible for a health insurance subsidy starting in January. (Getty Images)

If you’re among millions of uninsured Californians eligible for government-subsidized insurance, the ripples of health reform start with Monday’s tax deadline.

First, the government will use your return this year as its first yardstick for how much of a subsidy or tax break it contributes to your health coverage next year. And second, if you don’t have health insurance a year from now, a penalty will be added to your federal tax bill.

These are among ways the federal tax code will increasingly be at the forefront of health reform’s implementation.  Other provisions are also kicking in as the countdown continues toward full operation of the Affordable Care Act on Jan. 1.

The provision that will provide the biggest boost to taxpayers is the one that offers subsidies for uninsured people who obtain coverage through new insurance exchanges.

“It’s a tremendous deal for the people who are currently uninsured,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Continue reading