Here is a nice two-page summary from the National Association of Tax Professionals regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA):
Healthcare Reform: What You Need To Know
It lays out the main points of healthcare reform in a clear fashion.
If you participate in an employer-sponsored plan that is affordable (premium = no more than 9.5% of your gross income), you are all set.
Otherwise, you will most likely have to purchase health insurance coverage for 2014 or else make a "shared responsibility payment." This penalty, which will be assessed on your 2014 income tax return, is not too high, but it will double for 2015 and go up further for 2016. Subsidies will be available if you earn less than four times the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). (These FPL guidelines will give you some idea of who qualifies for a subsidy, but don't rely on them to be exact.)
Covered California will give state residents access to the health insurance marketplace. Residents in other states can find their state marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Residents without a state-sponsored marketplace will have access to the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. You can also call 800-318-2596.
These healthcare exchanges are supposed to be up and running by October 1, 2013. I recently heard that it is possible the Covered California launch date will slip a bit. They don't want to go live until the site is 100% ready to provide a good experience for visitors.
I cannot stress this enough - BEWARE OF SCAMMERS:
Scam artists who are after your money and/or personal information are already out there in droves working the phones and sending emails. Here are some tips posted by CNBC contributor Herb Weisbaum, that will help you spot a fraud:
- There is no card associated with health care reform.
- There is no new Medicare card, and you do not have to update any personal information.
- The Health Insurance Marketplace (those exchanges) doesn't open until Oct. 1, so you can't buy coverage under the Affordable Care Act until then.
- Don't respond to a cold call of any kind, especially one that asks for personal information or money. And don't trust caller ID, which can be rigged to make it look as if the call is coming from a government office.
- Don't let anyone rush you. The rates in the exchange have been preapproved and won't change during the initial enrollment period, Oct. 1 to March 31. Anyone promising a "special price" or "limited time offer" or who tells you "spots are limited" is lying.
FCC Payroll Service clients and other business owners with just a few employees: Do not worry about the "employer mandate." Only businesses with 50 or more employees are required to provide health coverage to their workers. Such larger businesses have until 2015 to offer coverage and avoid penalties.
Last updated 28 August 2013