Medical insurance companies request hikes up to 41 percent in Colorado.

Everything You Need to Know About the New Health Tax Form So You Don’t Get Fined.

A new tax form demonstrating proof of the purchase of health insurance for 2015 is not required to be mailed in when consumers are filing their taxes this year.

While taxpayers do not have to include form 1095 when they submit their return, the document ensures that individuals met the Affordable Care Act’s requirements that they purchased health care coverage. Tax penalties apply to consumers if they did not purchase coverage.  “By now, everyone knows that the Obamacare law requires most of us to have health insurance,” he said. “What most people don’t know is how the requirement to have coverage is enforced and what it can mean for your federal tax return.”

The form, which can appear in three versions as 1095-A, 1095-B or 1095-C, depends on whether you bought coverage on your own, received tax subsidies or got it through an employer. Consumers who purchased insurance through one of the federal or state healthcare marketplace such as will receive a 1095-A, while people who bought it from insurance companies will be mailed the 1095-B. Form 1095-C is mailed to people who received coverage from their employer or those companies with 50 or more full-time employees.

Tax Penalty

Consumers who only missed coverage for a month or two do not have to pay the penalty. Having a significant gap in health insurance coverage, which is reflected in your form 1095, means you should be prepared to pay the tax penalty of $325 per adult or the greater of 2% of your taxable household income.

The subsidies lowered the amount consumers paid each month for their premiums, making them affordable. Consumers need to determine whether the advanced tax credit payments they received were too little or too high, based on their income and other filing details, said Ryan Saltz, a licensed tax professional with Tax Defense Network, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based tax resolution company.

“Alternatively, you may not have taken advanced payments and might need to determine how much you should be getting back in the form of a premium tax credit,” he said. “You may find that filing a tax return is cumbersome, tedious and complicated. The good news is that there’s an excellent chance that these forms will have little impact on your actual filing experience.”


Covered California Has a One-Star Rating on Yelp.

Covered California, the Obamacare insurance marketplace in the Golden State, has a one-star review on Yelp, the ratings site which allows individuals to post reviews of local businesses.

The Yelp page for Covered California currently has 208 reviews, 191 of which give it one out of a possible five stars. Only six reviews give the exchange a very positive review of four or five stars. Some of the negative reviews seem to come from people with a generalized opposition to Obamacare. However, many are personal stories by people who have tried to buy insurance and found it difficult.

Laura N. from San Diego writes:

Nightmare!!!!! I have been dealing with trying to straighten out this situation for months. I call once a week, go through long wait times to then be put on hold. I have been cancelled but still have to pay for payments on insurance I don’t even have even after I update information and each phone call they tell me it’s all taken care of. … Each time I talk to someone after waiting forever and on hold they tell me it’s all taken care of and then it’s never done and they have no records of my last calls only that I called for general information. I’m so frustrated and now I owe thousands of dollars and I’ve never seen one doctor.

Kris A. from Encinitas calls Covered CA a “chaotic wasteful mess”:

I have never in my life, so far, experienced this degree of disorganization, ineptitude, and inefficiency. …The fact that we cannot discuss this issue with anyone that can actually fix it is infuriating. All we can do is send letters. It is so ridiculous how much time, energy and money has been wasted in this system. … I hope this new system is changed quickly or gotten rid of completely. Sadly I supported health care reform but reforming something into a chaotic wasteful mess of bureaucracy is not a solution.

Brandon B. from Huntington Beach lost his insurance and says Covered CA is worse than the DMV:

We have spent at least 16 hours on the phone and on hold with reps and supervisors promising they would fix the issue and the billing, but they don’t and they never call back when they say they will. … This is 100 times worse than the DMV, I feel like I’m going insane, we have a baby in the NICU and this has caused my wife untold stress and time and we aren’t even to finish line yet, we may now not even have coverage.

Meesh B. from San Diego was unable to cancel her insurance and said, “I received another bill in November and again in December. After endless hours of hold times I was told that they had ‘no record of my requests to cancel coverage.’  What a surprise. … Shame on you Covered CA!”

Cal Berkeley grad Knot S. had a message for President Obama: “Good idea that has gone HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY wrong. … Obama you are alienating those who supported you. Come on I/we deserve better than this.”

Vi C in Huntington Beach has a long story about trying (and failing) to cancel her insurance. She writes in part:

I filed an appeal with covered california- kept a list of notes and reference numbers, dates and exact times i spoke with everyone since Nov. (thank god) i got an email from someone named Matt Forster stating he was handling my appeal and that it had been cancelled. No phone call, no number on his email signature… I called blue shield with a reference number he gave me only to be told the reference number did not exist or go to anything and the never received cancellation. They DID however receive a renewal for a f*****g new policy!!! … 4 months later and i now have 2 insurance policies with blue shield, been sent to collections, received no phone call from covered ca, have non existing appeals rep, and somehow a simple task is taking over my life.

Krista N. from Oakland is so frustrated she has become somewhat sarcastic:

It seems that even the most mundane of tasks is too difficult for the Covered California rep with whom I’m still on hold. He simply cannot find any way to resolve the issue of moving my health insurance start date from October 1, 2014 to November 1, 2014 — a request that was made initially 6 months ago (and repeatedly throughout the intervening months). … It occurs to me, however, as I listen to this synthesized on-hold music on loop for the 73rd time today, that I was foolish to expect a solution to such a complex request. How could anyone expect their normal, human-sized brains to conquer a task of this magnitude? Oh, it is a problem for Einstein or Socrates or Schopenhauer, not for the likes of Covered California!

Jorge from Long Beach is frustrated with the call center:

Negative five stars. Just today I got hung up on twice, with a grand total of 90 minutes waiting time. I wish they would at least hang up on me right away instead of having me wait. Seriously, how long does it take to simply hang up on everyone without even saying anything?

Kelly W. in Brentwood writes:

They have changed the plan that I signed up for, and now it is essentially the same cost but we have $6,000.00 deductibles for each person before the insurance that I am paying $1122.00 a month for pays a dime. … When I first saw it, I thought the deductibles were for catastrophic events. … If one of us ended up needed surgery or cancer treatments or something horrible. … Nope. Man, would I love to be on a commercial talking about how effing horrible this insurance is.

Typhone in Woodland Hills is upset enough to want to see a Republican in the White House, stating, “EVERYTHING ABOUT COVERED CALIFORNIA IS THE WORST!!!!!! … I am a Democrat … and I never thought I would say this. But I hope a Republican takes office and does away with this.”

V W from Palm Springs writes:

I am all in support of the Affordable Care Act. Covered CA is a nice idea but the infrastructure needed to actually provide services to everyone that needs it was not well planned out. Covered CA is INCOMPETENT. Nice and caring people on the phone if you can stand the hour hold times. … Then they can’t help you. …. SUCKS.

Dozens and dozens more stories like these exist. Many of the reviewers say they only wish they could give zero stars instead of one. And the problems with the website and the call center have been ongoing for over a year now. Breitbart News reported last September that nearly two-thirds of callers to the Covered CA call center were simply hanging up. Add to this that Covered CA enrollment, which was praised in 2014, seems to have stalled in 2015, and you have a system that does not seem to be living up to many people’s expectations.

Breitbard  June 3, 2105

Of Obamacare’s Many Taxes, What Hurts Most.


At tax time, more of us are looking anew at the Affordable Care Act. Some of us are doing so as we hunch over our tax returns. Yet many of the panoply of taxes added by Obamacare are not open and obvious. They are more like those Lois Lerner emails, or Hillary Clinton’s for that matter. In fact, there could be a new competition for what is Obamacare’s most unfair tax. As one editorial noted, some say it is the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices, increasing their cost, hurting the industry, and designed purely to collect revenue.

Another pure revenue raiser is the 3.8% net investment income tax. Depending on your income, it adds a 3.8% tax on top of your interest, dividends and capital gains. While this one may be politically safe since it purports to target only upper income people, it is hard to explain this to someone with a modest income who sells their lifelong property and ends up with an extra 3.8% tax on top of their capital gain tax. Such a person might be in that upper income category just once year.

There are many Obamacare taxes, so many, in fact, that can even be debated how many there are. In terms of tax filings this year, Obamacare is creating a tax filing backlash. Yet most of the approximately 85% of Americans who have health insurance and who make less than $250,000 a year can relax. Most of the new taxes are unlikely to hurt you or impact your pocketbook. Even so, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, which is one reason the IRS has a 21-page Publication 5187 on the Health Care Law: What’s New for Individuals and Families.


If reading about the now-not-so-new-law triggers a need for an entertainment break, there’s always President Obama’s Buzzfeed video. Or you can review three new tax forms: the 1095-A Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, the Form 8962 Premium Tax Credit, and Form 8965 Health Coverage Exemptions. Forms 1095-A and 8962 are for people who bought health coverage through the Marketplace. Form 8965 is for those who got a Marketplace coverage exemption or plan to claim an exemption.

For ranking Obamacare’s taxes, you must first list them. That is no mean feat, since some of it depends how you count and what you regard as a tax:

  1. 2.3% Tax on medical device manufacturers (this doesn’t hit you directly, but indirectly it sure can).
  2. 3.8% Net investment income tax. This one is a big one. Depending on your income, it adds a 3.8% tax on top of your interest, dividends and capital gains.
  3. Employer mandate on business with over 50 full-time equivalent employees to provide health insurance to full-time employees. $2,000 per employee $3,000 if employee uses tax credits to buy insurance on the exchange.
  4. 40% Excise tax on high-end (Cadillac) health insurance plans (40% excise tax on the portion of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds $10,200 a year and $27,500 for families).
  5. Medical deduction threshold tax increase (threshold to deduct medical expenses as an itemized deduction increases to 10% from 7.5%).
  6. Individual mandate (a tax for not purchasing insurance, though the tax penalty is called a Shared Responsibility Payment, the greater of 1% of your income above the filing threshold of $10,150 for singles and $20,300 for married couples filing jointly or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), with a maximum of $285 for a family, whichever is higher. It goes up in 2015.
  7. Excise tax on charitable hospitals which fail to comply with the requirements of Obamacare.
  8. Elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D.
  9. Medicare Part A tax increase of .9% over $200k/$250k.
  10. An annual $63 fee levied by Obamacare on all plans (decreased each year until 2017 when pre-existing conditions are eliminated) to help pay for insurance companies covering the costs of high-risk pools.
  11. Medicine cabinet tax (over the counter medicines no longer qualify as medical expenses for flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), and Archer medical saving accounts (MSAs).
  12. Additional tax on HSA/MSA distributions.
  13. HSAs or Archer MSAs, penalties for non-qualified medical expenses of 10% to 20% in the case of an HSA and from 15% to 20% for an MSA.

WSJ Rips New Obamacare Exemption for Congress.

The administration’s new rules that allow members of Congress and their staffs to escape the healthcare exchanges under Obamacare represent a double standard, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial.

It boils down to “illegal dispensations for the ruling class, different rules for the hoi polloi,” the Journal said Thursday.

Obamacare stipulates that “the only health plans that the federal government may make available” to Congress are the ones that are part of the law’s insurance exchanges.

But that requirement set off complaints among members and their aides, “because they won’t qualify for Obamacare subsidies and they’ll lose employer contributions they now receive under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP),” the Journal said.

The Journal criticized President Barack Obama for personally instructing the Office of Personnel Management to retain the congressional benefits.

“The eat-your-own-cooking provision begins with the phrase ‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law.’ The feds now interpret that clause as a loophole to mean that the Affordable Care Act did not change the 1959 law that created the FEHBP.”

That means congressional employees can remain enrolled in the FEHBP at the same time that they use Obamacare exchanges.

“The feds then ‘clarify’ — their euphemism — that the regulatory meaning of health benefits in the FEHBP can be Obamacare plans. Voila, taxpayers will continue to chip in $4,900 for individual and $10,000 for family coverage,” the editorial continued.

The lawmakers and their aides will still have to use the exchanges, as required by law, but only because it would have been “too explosive politically” not to, the Journal said.

The Journal said Congress would have done better to create a law offering its workers a raise to make up for the loss of government benefits and subsidies.

“But that would mean an ugly political fight that voters might notice. It’s so much easier to slip through this political fix in August when Congress is out of session and the press corps can’t wait to hit the beach,” the newspaper said.

House Passes Bill To Keep IRS From Enforcing Obamacare.

House Passes Bill To Keep IRS From Enforcing Obamacare

Today, the House passed the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013. The purpose of the bill, H.R. 2009, as introduced by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), is simple: to prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury from enforcing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Labor unions are having problems with the way Obamacare harms their gold-plated health benefits .

Labor unions are having problems with the way Obamacare harms their gold-plated health benefits The Apothecary, With Avik Roy   Forbes.   Insights into health care and entitlement reform.

Experts: Obamacare will lead to massive spying on US health records.

Jul 24, 2013 The federal government may be  one step closer to keeping tabs on consumers’   health care information with a  new data hub under Obamacare.


Affordable Care Act Hits Another “Glitch,” Mid-Term Elections.

Affordable Care Act Hits Another “Glitch,” Mid-Term Elections

July 8, 2013

Actions speak louder than words. The Obama administration knows the health care law is a train wreck.

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Tuesday the Obama administration has announced it would give employers until 2015 to provide insurance to employees.  Officially, the administration made its decision for two reasons: 1) to give themselves time to ease up on the rigorous reporting standards that will be required of employers; and 2) to give employers an extra year to comply, since the employer mandate is based on the reporting standards.

FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe responded with the following statement:

“Concerns about paperwork seem a weak excuse for a full year’s delay, especially since the employer mandate was not set to go into effect until next year.  The administration’s sudden concern for businesses is clearly an attempt to assuage hard feelings about the Affordable Care Act as the 2014 elections draw near, and to avoid the potential political fallout of significant layoffs and hour reductions at companies looking to avoid the extra costs of mandatory coverage.  Requiring all mid-size and large employers to cover all their full-time employees is a disaster, both for businesses and for workers. The cost burden to employers will result in hours cut and jobs lost, as companies scrounge to make ends meet.

“Actions speak louder than words. The Obama administration knows the health care law is a train wreck. They rammed it through in 2010 claiming it was urgently needed – so urgent, in fact, that they had ‘to pass the bill so [we] can find out what’s in it,’ as one representative infamously declared. Now, three years later, it still isn’t “ready.

“Obamacare is an unwieldy, unwise and un-American piece of legislation. It places undue burdens on employers and threatens countless jobs. Worse, it threatens the freedoms we hold dear as Americans.”


SOURCE FreedomWorks

Health insurance carriers fear many young people will opt to go without coverage.

 Youth weighing a $100 fine against the cost of insurance.

Dan Lopez rarely gets sick and hasn’t been to a doctor in 10 years, so buying  health insurance feels like a waste of money.

Even after the federal health overhaul takes full effect next year, the  24-year-old said he will probably decide to pay the $100 penalty for those who  skirt the law’s requirement that all Americans purchase coverage.

“I don’t feel I should pay for something I don’t use,” said the Milwaukee  resident, who makes about $48,000 a year working two part-time jobs.

Because he makes too much to qualify for government subsidies, Lopez would  pay a premium of about $3,000 a year if he chose to buy health insurance.

“I shouldn’t be penalized for having good health,” he said.

Persuading young, healthy adults such as Lopez to buy insurance under the  Affordable Care Act is becoming a major concern for insurance companies as they  scramble to comply with the law, which prohibits them from denying coverage  because of pre-existing conditions and limits what they can charge to older  policyholders.

Experts warn that a lot of these so-called “young invincibles” could opt to  pay the fine instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars each year on  insurance premiums. If enough young adults avoid the new insurance marketplace,  it could throw off the entire equilibrium of the Affordable Care Act. Insurers  are betting on the business of that group to offset the higher costs they will  incur for older, sicker beneficiaries.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that about 6 million  people of various ages will pay the tax penalty for not having insurance in  2014, the first year the law championed by President Barack Obama will be fully  implemented.

It’s hard to estimate how many of those will be the young and healthy adults  that insurers are trying to reach, but that subgroup makes up a very small  portion of the overall market. Even though it’s small, experts say it could be  enough to throw the system’s financing off-kilter.

About 3 million 18-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. currently purchase their own  insurance. Many pay high prices for scant benefits, with high deductibles and  co-pays because they make too much to qualify for Medicaid and have no coverage  options from their employers or parents. The Urban Institute estimates that the  majority of adults in their 20s will qualify for government subsidies under the  Affordable Care Act.

Premium hikes could be a disincentive for young people weighing their  options. Premiums for people aged 21 to 29 with single coverage who are not  eligible for government subsidies would increase by 42 percent under the law,  according to an analysis by actuaries at the consulting firm Oliver Wyman. By  comparison, an adult in his or her early 60s  would see about a 1 percent  average increase in premiums under new federal health rules.

“The key to keeping health care affordable is you really want to balance the  pool, where you have enough young and healthy people to balance off the care of  the older, sicker people who are likely to utilize much more health care  services,” said Justine Handelman, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s  vice president for legislative and regulatory policy.

She said younger people use about a fifth of the services that older  beneficiaries do.

Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of  Technology who helped craft that state’s law, said he thinks the first-year  federal penalty should be higher.

The penalty under the Massachusetts law, which served as the model for  Obama’s overhaul, was $218 the first year in 2007. Gruber said that amount  proved effective.

“People hate paying money and getting nothing for it,” he said.

Francois Louis, a 20-year-old college student in South Florida who works  part-time, can’t remember the last time he went to the doctor and gets by on  over-the-counter medication whenever he’s sick. He’d love to get a checkup, but  says it’s too expensive on his income of less than $15,000 a year.

“I probably would do the $100 fine because it’s just cheaper and you don’t  have to worry about paying off monthly costs,” said Louis, a student at Broward  Community College near Fort Lauderdale.

By Kelli Kennedy
The Associated Press


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