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Posts Tagged ‘Affordable Care Act’

Do you Owe a Health Care Coverage Penalty for 2014?

Posted by williambyrnes on June 20, 2014


Deadline to Enroll has Passed

The deadline to enroll in minimum essential health insurance passed on March 30, 2014.   According to estimates by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), it met its goal of at least 7 million persons enrolling for health care via the health insurance market places established by the federal government on behalf of various states. Some states, such as California, established their own insurance marketplaces, and thus it is likely that the 7 million figure has indeed been achieved, if not surpassed.

Did Enough Healthy People Enroll to Pay for The System?

The primary question for the federal government that remains is whether the balance of persons enrolling that are “healthy” individuals who must simply pay the annual premium in 2014 but will not actually take dollars from the medical coverage in 2014, will outweigh the payouts to individuals that will take more from health insurance than they pay in.

But What About the Medicaid Expansion?

Moreover, the Affordable Care Act pushed states to expand the definition of when an individual may be covered by the Medicaid, and thus receive medical care substantively paid for by a combination of the federal and state government.  The federal government upfront will provide 90% of a state’s additional medicare cost.  The state must shoulder more of this burden in the future though.

How Will This Be Paid For?

How will the federal government pay for its share of the additional medicare costs and for any additional costs associated with this new federally mandated system?  Some government officials state that Obama Care is already set up to pay for itself because the medical profession, insurance companies, and taxpayers will pick up the additional costs.  Insurance companies will reduce their own administrative costs, the medical profession will offer its services at cheaper prices, and Congress has already raised taxes in the forms of the increased medicare payroll tax and medicare tax on investment income.

The New “Shared Responsibility Payment” Tax, Penalty, Fine

But also, Congress imposed a required payment (some pundits call it a penalty, some call it a tax, others a fine like a parking ticket) on taxpayers who do not obtain and maintain health coverage, that will over time increase.  As the required penalty increases over the coming years, in principle at least, it should be cheaper for a taxpayer to simply buy the lowest cost health insurance than to pay this penalty.  This assumes that the cost of the lowest quality health insurance in these marketplaces does not sky rocket to over come the penalty.

Congress did not call the penalty a “penalty” in the actual law. Instead, Congress used a more ‘voter friendly’ expression “individual shared responsibility payment”.

An Example Decision Maker Deciding What to do in 2014

Other factors will play a role in this decision process, such as a individual’s appetite to take on catastrophic medical risk  (like breaking all their bones in an accident) and weighing the cost of the insurance and the required deductible. If an individual’s annual premium will cost by example approximately $7,200 and the annual deductible is $6,000 (this is an actual example from an insurance policy offered via the 2014 California Marketplace), and the individual thinks that it is extremely unlikely that he or she will spend more than $13,200 in medical costs in 2014, then the individual may opt for the “shared responsibility payment”.

If nothing medically happens during 2014, the taxpayer will only owe the contribution, and thus have saved over $13,000!  However, if something catastrophic happens in 2014 requiring substantial medical expenses over $13,200, the taxpayer will have been better off with the insurance.  Another economic factor in this economic decision making process includes the amount of co-pay required per type of medical procedure.  Another factor in the risk decision making process is the individual’s belief of potentially requiring a certain level of medical expenses, such as perhaps just a stomach virus and the likely out of pocket cost of that care, versus breaking a bone.

How much is the penalty for 2014 if a taxpayer did not have “minimum essential coverage’ by March 30, 2014?

If a taxpayer (or any dependents) do not maintain health care coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, then the taxpayer must make an individual shared responsibility payment with the 2014 tax return.  In general, this health care coverage penalty is either a percentage of the taxpayer’s income or a flat dollar amount, whichever is greater.  High income taxpayers will pay a higher penalty.  A taxpayer will owe 1/12th of this penalty for each month of the taxpayer or taxpayer’s dependents gap in coverage.  The annual payment amount for 2014 is the greater of:

  • one percent (1%) of the household income that is above the tax return threshold for the taxpayer’s filing status, such as Married Filing Jointly or single, or
  • a family’s flat dollar amount, which is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, limited to a maximum of $285.

This individual shared responsibility payment is capped at the cost of the national average premium for the bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace in 2014.  The taxpayer will pay the due amount with the 2014 federal income tax return filed in 2015.  For example, a single adult under age 65 with household income less than $19,650 (but more than $10,150) would pay the $95 flat rate.  However, a single adult under age 65 with household income greater than $19,650 would pay an annual payment based on the one percent rate.  

Why greater than $19,650?  The filing threshold for a single adult in 2014 is 10,150, subtract that from $19,650, leaving a base amount of $9, 500.  Multiply 1% to that base amount and the penalty is $95, the same as the flat rate.

So, from the beginning of this year (January 1, 2014) a taxpayer and the family must either have “qualifying” health insurance coverage throughout the year, qualify for an exemption from coverage, or make the above payment when filing the 2014 federal income tax return in 2015.

What is “Minimum Essential Coverage” Under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”)?

In Health Care Tax Tip 12, the IRS explained for a taxpayer how to determine if his or her health care coverage qualifies as “minimum essential coverage” to avoid the health care coverage penalty for 2014 that must be paid by April 15, 2015 when filing the tax return.

The Affordable Care Act calls for individuals to have and maintain qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, or have an exemption, or make a shared responsibility payment (pay a ‘penalty’) when filing their federal income tax return next year by April 15, 2015.

Qualifying health insurance coverage, called minimum essential coverage, includes coverage under various, but not all, types of health care coverage plans. The IRS stated that the majority of coverage that people have today counts as minimum essential coverage.

The IRS provided examples of minimum essential coverage:

  • Health insurance coverage provided by an employer,
  • Health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace,
  • Coverage provided under a government-sponsored program (including Medicare, Medicaid, and health care programs for veterans), and
  • Health insurance purchased directly from an insurance company.

Minimum essential coverage does not include coverage providing only limited benefits, such as:

  • Coverage consisting solely of excepted benefits, such as:
    • Stand-alone vision and dental insurance
    • Workers’ compensation
    • Accident or disability income insurance
  • Medicaid plans that provide limited coverage such as only family planning services or only treatment of emergency medical conditions.

tax-facts-online_medium

Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.  The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Rick Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Obama Care “Premium Tax Credit” – 4 days left to take advantage

Posted by williambyrnes on March 27, 2014


On February 25, the IRS released Health Care Tax Tip 2014-03 reminding taxpayers that time is running out – only 4 days left – to enroll for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

However, the premium tax credit can help make purchasing health insurance coverage more affordable for people with moderate incomes. To be eligible for the premium tax credit, a tax filer must satisfy three rules:  

1.  Sign up for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance coverage for 2014 through the Health Insurance Marketplace ENDS in 4 days on March 31, 2014!

2. Household income between one and four times the federal poverty line.  For a family of four for tax year 2014, that means income from $23,550 to $94,200.

3. Not eligible for other medical coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or sufficiently generous employer-sponsored coverage.

If a  Marketplace determines the taxpayer is likely to qualify for the tax credit at the time of signup on the Health Insurance Marketplace, then the taxpayer has two choices:

1. Choose to have some or all of the estimated credit paid in advance directly to the medical insurance company to lower the pay out-of-pocket for the monthly premiums during 2014, or

2. Wait to receive the premium tax credit when the 2014 tax return is filed in 2015.  Waiting to receive the premium tax credit will either increase the tax refund or lower the balance due to the IRS.

For taxpayers choosing to receive the premium tax credit in advance, changes to income or family size will affect the credit eligible to receive.  If the credit on the 2014 tax return (filed in 2015) does not match the amount received in advance, the taxpayer will have to repay any excess advance payment, or you may get a larger refund if you are entitled to more. It is important to tell your Marketplace about changes in your income or family size as they happen during 2014 because these changes will affect the amount of your credit.

For more than half a century, Tax Facts has been an essential resource designed to meet the real-world tax-guidance needs of professionals in both the insurance and investment industries.

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

tax-facts-online_mediumThe company also points out that the expert authors—Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.

The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

IRS Offers Obama Care Tax Tips for 2013 and 2014

Posted by williambyrnes on March 11, 2014


The IRS has set up a webpage >Health Care Tax Tips< to help people understand what they need to know for the 2013 federal individual income tax returns they are filing by April 15th, as well as for future tax returns. This includes information on the new Premium Tax Credit and making health care coverage choices.

Because many of the new Obama Care tax rules only went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, most of these Obama Care changes do not affect the 2013 tax return.

What do I need to know for my 2013 tax return?

Considerations for 2014 tax year?

  • Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for 2014 began Oct. 1, 2013 and runs through March 31, 2014. When you get health insurance through the marketplace, you may be able to get advance payments of the premium tax credit that will immediately help lower your monthly premium. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.
  • Premium Tax Credit: If you get insurance through the Marketplace, you may be eligible to claim the premium tax credit. You can elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your 2014 tax return, which will be filed in 2015. If you’re already receiving advance payments of the credit, you need do nothing at this time unless you have a change in circumstance. Learn More.
  • Change in Circumstances: If you’re receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for your insurance coverage, you should report life changes, such as income, marital status or family size changes, to your marketplace. Reporting changes will help to make sure you are getting the proper amount of advance payments.
  • Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Starting January 2014, you and your family must have health care coverage, have an exemption from coverage, or make a payment when you file your 2014 tax return in 2015. Most people already have qualifying health care coverage and will not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage throughout 2014. Learn More.

The Health Care Tax Tips available at >IRS ACA website< include:

  • IRS Reminds Individuals of Health Care Choices for 2014 ─ Find out what you need to know about how health care choices you make for 2014 may affect your taxes.
  • The Health Insurance Marketplace – Learn about Your Health Insurance Coverage Options – Find out about getting health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • The Premium Tax Credit ─ Learn the basics of the Premium Tax Credit, including who might be eligible and how to get the credit.
  • The Individual Shared Responsibility Payment – An Overview ─ Provides information about types of qualifying coverage, exemptions from having coverage, and making a payment if you do not have qualifying coverage or an exemption.
  • Three Timely Tips about Taxes and the Health Care Law ─  Provides tips that help with filing the 2013 tax return, including information about employment status, tax favored health plans and itemized deductions.
  • Four Tax Facts about the Health Care Law for Individuals ─Offers basic tips to help people determine if the Affordable Care Act affects them and their families, and where to find more information.
  • Changes in Circumstances can Affect your Premium Tax Credit ─ Learn the importance of reporting any changes in circumstances that involve family size or income when advance payments of the Premium Tax Credit are involved.

For more than half a century, Tax Facts has been an essential resource designed to meet the real-world tax-guidance needs of professionals in both the insurance and investment industries.

2014_tf_on_individuals_small_businesses-m_1Due to a number of recent changes in the law, taxpayers are currently facing many questions connected to important issues such as healthcare, home office use, capital gains, investments, and whether an individual is considered an employee or a contractor. Financial advisors are continually looking for updated tax information that can help them provide the right answers to the right people at the right time. This brand-new resource provides fast, clear, and authoritative answers to pressing questions, and it does so in the convenient, timesaving, Q&A format for which Tax Facts is famous.

“Our brand-new Tax Facts title is exciting in many ways,” says Rick Kravitz, Vice President & Managing Director of Summit Professional Network’s Professional Publishing Division. “First of all, it fills a huge gap in the resources available to today’s advisors. Small business is a big market, and this book enables advisors to get up-and-running right away, with proven guidance that will help them serve their clients’ needs. Secondly, it addresses the biggest questions facing all taxpayers and provides absolutely reliable answers that help advisors solve today’s biggest problems with confidence.”

tax-facts-online_mediumThe company also points out that the expert authors—Robert Bloink, Esq., LL.M., and William H. Byrnes, Esq., LL.M., CWM®—are delivering real-life guidance based on decades of experience.

The authors’ knowledge and experience in tax law and practice provides the expert guidance for National Underwriter to once again deliver a valuable resource for the financial advising community,” added Kravitz.

Anyone interested can try Tax Facts on Individuals & Small Business, risk-free for 30 days, with a 100% guarantee of complete satisfaction.  For more information, please go to www.nationalunderwriter.com/TaxFactsIndividuals or call 1-800-543-0874.

Posted in Taxation | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

U.S. Tightens Scrutiny of Small Businesses Skirting Obamacare Mandate

Posted by williambyrnes on November 6, 2013


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that will require employers with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health coverage for those employees or pay a penalty that can reach $3,000 per employee has many small business clients scrambling to plan for years ahead.  Because independent contractors are not counted toward the 50-employee limit, some small business clients may be tempted to reclassify common law employees as independent contractors to avoid the mandate.

Read Professor William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis of the issues, challenges, pitfalls and solutions for addressing a business’ future in a world of Obama Care at > Think Advisor <

 

Posted in Compliance, Tax Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Overlooked Obamacare Silver Lining: Savings for Small Businesses

Posted by williambyrnes on October 2, 2013


Your small business clients know that the health insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are coming—and soon—but they may not realize that they create significant benefits for employers in the form of dramatic cost savings above and beyond the current rules governing deductibility of premiums and eligibility for certain tax credits.

Beginning Nov. 1, small business clients will be eligible to sign up online for a specially created Small Business Health Options Program (the SHOP exchange), but clients are unlikely to have realized that the rules of the game have changed with the advent of SHOP.

Read William Byrnes and Robert Bloink’s analysis at Think Advisor

Posted in Compliance, Insurance | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Income-based premiums triple Medicare costs under PPACA

Posted by williambyrnes on July 31, 2013


For your high net worth and upper middle class clients, Medicare planning has become a critical component of a well-executed retirement income plan.

New rules put into effect under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) can impact these clients’ retirement income planning in ways they might not yet realize by increasing their Medicare premiums proportionally as income increases.  The new rules will expand the pool of clients to which these monthly increases will apply.

In today’s environment, it is more important than ever to consider Medicare premiums when planning for retirement expenses.

Medicare Income-Based Premiums … read my analysis at LifeHealthPro – http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2013/05/13/income-based-premiums-triple-medicare-costs-under

Posted in Retirement Planning, Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Changing World of Health Insurance: MLR’s Slam Commissions

Posted by williambyrnes on August 31, 2011


Increased medical loss ratios (MLRs) are devastating health insurance producers’ balance sheets and driving agents out of the health insurance business. As of  January, the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act increased the MLR requirement imposed on health insurance companies, forcing many carriers to reduce agent commissions by 25 percent or more.

The objective behind imposing MLRs is to ensure that consumers receive the full value of their premium dollars. This is accomplished by implementing a shift in how insurance carriers spend their money. Insurance carries are now required to spend premium dollars on direct medical services, rather than on administrative costs and profits. Under the new MLR program, insurers must spend 80 to 85 cents of every dollar on direct medical services. Insurers who fail to meet the MLR requirement must either adjust their premiums to account for any discrepancies, or refund excess premiums to consumers.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of health care reform in Advisor’s Journal, see Long-term Care Insurance Reform Act of 2010 (CC 10-46), Changes Affecting Large Employers in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-17), Changes Affecting Business in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-16), & Changes Affecting Individuals in the 2010 Health Reform Law (CC 10-15).

Posted in Wealth Management | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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