Posts Tagged ‘health care exchange’

Kelley-Jensen2

Top 5 Lessons Learned for Covered California’s Second Enrollment

Top 5 Lessons Learned for Covered CA’s 2nd Enrollment

We are on the eve of Covered CA’s 2nd open enrollment period, consumers be ready. Here is a list of the top 5 lessons learned from the first open enrollment period that will help those that need to buy health insurance during the 2nd open enrollment:covered-ca-head-banging-guy

No. 1) Use an agent. You will need one.

I realize that sounds like a shameless plug, but the facts from Covered CA’s first enrollment strongly back up the value of certified agents, so much so that Covered CA is redoing its marketing plan to notify consumers of agents available in their area, via storefront, internet or telephone.

Health Insurance Subsidy on Form 1040

Kelley-Jensen2Health Insurance Subsidy on Form 1040 Much has been written about the premium tax credit or subsidies available to those that qualify.  Here are the most important things to know about the credit, including how it will probably look the first year it will be reported on form 1040, your federal income tax return. 1)    You must file a tax return to claim the credit.  A form 1040, not a form 1040NR (non-resident, sometimes filed using a PTIN). 2)    You cannot claim the credit if your filing status is married filing separately. 3)    You cannot be listed as a dependent on a tax return and claim the credit. 4)    You cannot claim the credit if you or your spouse is provided affordable coverage at work.  This means that if one taxpayer has affordable insurance at work , the entire family is not eligible for the credit, even if it is not affordable for the entire family.  (IRC §1.36B-2). 5)     The credit is NOT based on income reported on your paycheck or W-2, it is based on the adjusted gross income reported on your tax return, modified for any tax exempt income.  Click here for an example of a 2012 form 1040 to see where the number is on your tax return (pg1), (pg2). 6)    If you are self-employed, your health insurance deduction (see a sample 2012 form 1040 here) must be taken into account when estimating your AGI, be sure to ask a tax advisor about this. 7)    If your AGI will be different this year, or if it is too hard for you to estimate, you can take the credit when you file your tax return instead of monthly against premiums, or you can report changes in estimates as the year progresses. 8)    Click HERE for a chart of the income levels that qualify for the credit. 9)    For income tax purposes, a credit is better than a deduction.  A credit is a dollar for dollar reduction in your taxes, a deduction reduces your taxable income.  The premium tax credit you received as part of Obamacare is a big savings to your tax bill, but can only be taken to pay health insurance premiums. 10) If you have large health care expenses, those may be deductible, in addition to the credit, if you itemize your deductions.  Make it a habit to keep track of money you spend on health care and bring that information to a tax adviser. Lastly, the IRS will know if you have taken the credit to pay for health insurance premiums because the exchange will be reporting that information to both you and the IRS.  So, do not apply for the credit, use it to pay premiums and then not file a tax return. When the IRS receives a report about items of income, credits or deductions, they match it against the tax return filed.  When items do not match, they are sometimes flagged for follow up questions or audit, or sometimes the IRS will just issue a bill for differences. In cases where no tax return has been filed, the IRS will file one for you, in their favor.  Once they do that, it is up to the taxpayer to file an amended return and pay any penalties for late filing.  If you have never filed a tax return before, but would like to start for health insurance, consult a tax adviser or tax preparation service.

Health Care Subsidies and Premium Assistance Tax Credits, what are they?

 
Kelley-Jensen, writes about health care subsidiesHealth care subsidies – What is the difference between, subsidies, premium assistance, tax credits:  which apply to me and how do I get them?
Health care subsidies, subsidy, premium assistance, premium assistance credit, premium assistance tax credit, tax credit are all terms that are used interchangeably to describe money available to assist with the payment of monthly health insurance premiums for people that qualify for help.

What is a health insurance premium? 

A health insurance premium is an amount payable to an insurance company, usually monthly, for health care coverage to remain available.  Watch these great tutorials about health insurance by Humana.

Insurance Rates for Covered CA Health Are Here!

Kelley-Jensen2Covered CA has released Insurance Rates for the new health insurance plans.

What are Covered CA Insurance Rates?. Are they final, what information do I need before I start shopping for health insurance, and when can I start shopping?

Yes there are now average figures to give you an idea of what health insurance premiums will cost you every month, starting 2014. VERY rough average price ranges for an individual health plan are:

21 year old, with subsidy 21 year old, without subsidy 40 year old, with subsidy 40 year old, without subsidy

Health Care Reform: What do I Absolutely Need To Know?

Kelley-Jensen2Author: Kelley Filice Jensen

There is so much information circling around the internet and media outlets about Obamacare, health care reform and the new law.   I feel very overwhelmed by it, and I only care how it affects me.  What do I absolutely need to know?

1)       If you have health insurance through an employer with more than 50 employees, you will probably not be affected by health care reform.

2)      If you have health insurance through an employer with less than 50 employees,    your employer MAY change the way he provides health insurance to take advantage of subsidies available to employees.  If so, the health insurance broker he works with will help you with your health insurance.

How to Buy Affordable Health Insurance in 2014

Kelley-Jensen2Author:  Kelley Filice Jensen

Covered CA, the state run marketplace created from health care reform, just issued an actuarial study about the impact of health care reform on health insurance rates for 2014.  The results? Rates are going up somewhere between 20% and 30% or going down between 40% and 75%, depending on your income levels.  So what do you do?  Shop wisely.  The actuarial report highlights the importance of being a smart shopper of health insurance. Being well informed on the plans available, and whether you qualify for subsidy, is critical for getting the best value from the new insurance plans available in 2014.

Test Your Knowledge of Health Care Reform

Kelley-Jensen2Author:  Kelley Filice Jensen

Last week marked the 3rd anniversary of health care reform, formally, The Affordable Care Act (ACA).   Where does the average American stand on the law?  Do they understand it?  Are there misconceptions?  Will they purchase affordable health insurance, in accordance with the individual mandate, or just stay uninsured?  Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)  , a non-profit, non-partisan foundation that researches and produces health policy and health information in the United States and around the world, released a new Health Tracking Poll detailing America’s current knowledge, expectation, and opinion of The Affordable Care Act.

Health Care Reform and Small Businesses

Kelley-Jensen2Author:  Kelley Filice Jensen

How does health care reform affect small businesses?  What classifies a business as small?  Does reform help or hurt small business owners?  There is a lot of confusion about this new law and the impact it will have on small businesses and owners of those businesses.  Maybe the business has never provided health insurance benefits to employees, but would like to and would like to know more about the state exchanges set up for small business owners.  Or maybe, the business owner has no legal obligation to provide insurance for his employees, even under the new law, but would like to help his employees enroll in affordable health insurance plans available with health care reform.  Questions and answers for small businesses are right here.

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