Preparing for the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act becomes effective Jan. 1, 2014. Beginning on that date, people must:
– have health coverage that meets a minimum standard, or
– qualify for an exemption, or
– make a payment when filing their taxes if they have affordable options but remain uninsured.
On Oct. 1, 2013, “marketplaces” open up to shop for health coverage. Coverage begins as early as Jan. 1, 2014. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.
If you have access to affordable coverage but remain uninsured starting in 2014, you may have to make a payment when filing your taxes. This payment will either be a flat fee or a percentage of your taxable household income, depending on which amount is higher. This payment will be phased in according to this schedule:
– $95 or 1% of your taxable income in 2014
– $325 or 2% of your taxable income in 2015
– $695 or 2.5% of your taxable income in 2016
Exemptions from the payment will be granted under certain circumstances. For more information on these exemptions, visit www.healthcare.gov.
If you are enrolled in the VA health care system, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards. The Affordable Care Act does not change VA health benefits for veterans’ out-of-pocket expenses.
If you are a veteran’s family member receiving CHAMPVA, you also meet the health care law coverage standards and like the veteran, your benefits don’t change nor do your out-of-pocket expenses.
Not all veterans are eligible for VA health care but if you want to find out if you are, contact your County Veterans Service Office.
Tammy Walters can be reached at [email protected] or 715-369-6127.