A long time ago in a galaxy far away…..OK, so in reality about fifteen years ago in a town two hours away, I was an insurance agent. It was my first job out of school and I have to say, it was super interesting to me. Over a two year period before I decided to get a job in the field I went to college for and change careers, I learned quite a bit about insurance. I learned about the different types of policies and the benefits. I learned how insurance protects you and how it helps ensure that if the worst ever does happen, you’re not unprepared. I learned about how changes happen to your insurance when you have a baby, get married or even move.
Even though I decided to leave that career behind, the part of me that sat in certification classes and learned endless amounts of information about insurance just won’t let me turn my back on staying up to date with the ongoing insurance changes. Now, I know most of you have followed the Affordable Care Act closely. I’ll be the first to say that I have. And while we’re in no way going all political in discussing our thoughts, feelings and conclusions on this plan today, we are going to take a look at what the new regulations surrounding healthcare and taxes mean for you.
I guess first you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up now. That’s a very good question. One thing I learned being an insurance agent is that knowledge is power and preparation is key. And you might not know (or, hey, maybe you do in which case good job!) that right now is open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
What does that mean for you? It means that right now (from November 1st to January 31st) is the only time during the year that you can choose an insurance plan in the marketplace, purchase it and put it into effect for you and/or your family to avoid being penalized on your taxes. Now, the exception to that is having a baby (if you’re not preggo or considering getting preggo like in the next few weeks I don’t think this one applies to you) or getting married (check that finger for a little sparkle – if it’s not there, well…..). If neither of those situations apply to you, you better start looking at the marketplace soon so that you can choose the plan that best fits both your medial needs and your budget. And guess what? Even if you can answer yes to the ring on the finger or the bun in the oven question, you’re likely to want to be looking into the effect it will have on your insurance NOW! After all, there aren’t much bigger life changes than those and remember when I said preparation was key? Well, while marriage and babies are something you can never truly be prepared for, you’ll want as much advance info as possible!
So, I know all this info is overwhelming. And while my days of advising you on policy choices are long past, I can tell you that (woo hoo) it’s easier than ever to make the most informed decision regarding your family’s healthcare options with TurboTax’s easy-to-use online tools! You see, with TurboTax, it’s easier than ever to choose the status of your health insurance and make sure that you’re not paying penalties when you don’t need to. In fact, for nearly 80% of taxpayers, reporting your health insurance status again this year will be as easy as checking a box with TurboTax.
Because with TurboTax, you’ll be able to easily check which of the three categories you fall into. If you’re insured with a Marketplace plan, you’ll receive a 1095-A in the mail. From there it’s as simple as entering your information just like you enter your W2 into TurboTax. Then their system will help you take care of the rest. Better yet, simply choose the PDF upload option and it’s even easier to make sure all your information is correct!
But what if you have insurance through your work (or your spouse’s work) and haven’t purchased insurance in the Marketplace? Never fear, TurboTax is here! You may receive a 1095-B or 1095-C in the mail but you don’t even have to wait for it to file! Simply click the I’m Insured (not Obamacare) button in TurboTax, verify the info is correct on your form if you receive it and file it away because TurboTax has done all the work for you!
Most concerning of all for most people is what happens if they fall into the category of not having insurance. Don’t worry (it’s bad for your health after all). Instead simple use the TurboTax Penalty Calculator Tool to find out what you’ll be paying.
For me, the fact that TurboTax makes it so simple to know what I need to do when it comes to healthcare and my taxes really puts my mind at ease. It assures me that even with confusing new regulations, I’ve got someone on my side. Just as they have walked me through life changes as I got married, had my children and moved to a new home, they are also ensuring that my healthcare choices don’t slow me down either. Even without my prior life as an insurance agent or my degree in finance, I know that this kind of advice is invaluable! And that means that when it comes to healthcare and my taxes, I have one less thing to worry about this year.
I’m hoping this breakdown has made it easier for you to understand what to expect from the Affordable Care Act going into tax season but if you’re still confused, that’s OK! TurboTax offers a free suite of tools to help people understand how the ACA will affect their taxes and to ensure you’re prepared for whatever tax season brings. And because they know that you’re already dealing with enough end of year expenses, they don’t charge tax payers any extra fees for health care-related forms to comply with the ACA!
So as you go into the happiest time of the year, don’t let worry about how the Affordable Care Act will effect your taxes dim you joy. Instead celebrate the season knowing that TurboTax has you covered to ensure that the only thing you have to worry about during these holiday months is finding the perfect gift for Grandma!
To get all the latest information on healthcare and your taxes, be sure to visit the TurboTax suite of resources online today!