According to dictionary.com, affordable means, “believed to be within one’s financial means.” Obviously the politicians in Washington took this definition literally when they passed the Affordable Care Act.
According to an article in Forbes this past week, individual health insurance premiums will increase by an average of 41% across the country. Offering subsidies to a small subset of Americans to help offset substantially higher rates for everyone else doesn’t make sense. However by this definition, all they needed to do was to make health insurance within one’s financial means. And as of yesterday we know at least 5 have enrolled so far.
The Manhattan Institute put together an excellent interactive map that shows pre and post ObamaCare rates for each state:
Manhattan Institute – Know Your Rates
There are winners and losers in ObamaCare.
Winners: unhealthy people that were forced into expensive state pool guaranteed issue health plans that can now get any plan they choose without proof of insurability
Winners: low wage earners that qualify for expanded Medicaid or a substantial premium subsidy (and actually make it through healthcare.gov)
Losers: everyone else
I guess it all depends on what your definition of the word “Affordable” is…
PAY, PLAY or…
July 3, 2013
N. Scott Borden
The Obama administration shocked the business community yesterday by issuing a one year waiver on the
penalty tax (thank you SCOTUS for clarifying this) on employers with over 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) who don’t meet certain ObamaCare mandated health insurance guidelines for employees. This has been called a shrewd move since this provision is very unpopular and there are 21 Democratic Senate seats up for grabs in next year’s midterm election. Businesses have been concerned about being forced to purchase health insurance for all full-time employees (Play) or being fined up to $3000 per employee if they don’t (Pay). But now they have a third option… NONE OF THE ABOVE.
Most employers already offer group health insurance. They want to make sure their employees can obtain affordable health insurance regardless of any pre-existing conditions. They typically subsidize the premiums for employees and families. This is an enormous drain on their time and bottom line. Many employers are reluctant to hire new employees since every FTE could come with a
penalty tax which has stagnated expansion and increased unemployment. But the Obama administration has inadvertently provided a deficit exploding solution many employers are bound to take advantage of.
By delaying this one piece of ObamaCare while moving forward with the exchanges, employers will be able to choose to drop their group health insurance plans without the fear of paying a
penalty tax. Why should an employer pay for health insurance when the government will subsidize individuals and families on the exchanges that make up to 400% of the poverty level? That means a family of four can be making $90,000 per year and have the government paying some of the premium instead of the employer. Why would employers waste countless hours struggling with health insurance decisions when the employees can go to the exchanges and pick their own plan? And all health insurance plans will be guaranteed issue in 2014, so any pre-existing conditions will be covered.
So once again we have the Law of Unintended Consequences (ObamaCare Edition) playing out right in front of us. Political expediency says unpopular provisions should be implemented in non-election years. Experts were predicting a very small number of employers would drop their health insurance and let their employees obtain subsidized health insurance on the exchanges. Not only will the consequences of this delay tactic be a reduction in
penalties taxes, but also an exponential increase in the number of employers that will choose “NONE OF THE ABOVE” next year and allow their employees to obtain government subsidized health insurance.
And where will that money come from?
UPDATED January 3, 2013 for 2012 tax year
Click for TurboTax HSA information
During tax season, our HSA clients are normally happy with their tax savings. Unfortunately many TurboTax users are not seeing the savings they have in the past. There is another form (f8889) that TurboTax requires you to complete before your contribution and tax savings will be calculated properly.
If you were covered by an HSA-qualified HDHP effective prior to December 1st, 2012, you could be eligible to contribute up to $3100 per individual or up to $6250 for any family unit for tax year 2012. If you were 55 or older in 2012 then you are also eligible for the $1000 catch-up contribution. If you haven’t set up your HSA account yet, it’s not too late. We recommend HSA Bank because of their expertise and no setup fee.
In order to get this deduction you have to have your 2012 contributions in prior to April 15, 2013. These contributions are tax-deductible, similar to an IRA. If your taxes are calculated properly this can amount to a tremendous savings.
Here are a few HSA-related help topics from the TurboTax website.
I thought Obamacare would have HSAs targeted to go the way of the dinosaur, but (thankfully) I was wrong!
Click on my tailgate to read ObamaCare vs HSAs
Since everyone will be required by penalty of law to purchase health insurance, the lower cost premiums associated with HSA qualified High Deductible Health Plans are poised to be more popular than ever!
Yes, there had to be a couple small changes to HSAs such as not allowing over-the-counter medications to be tax deductible (also applies to Flexible Savings Accounts) and the penalty for withdrawals for non-eligible expenses will go up to 20% (currently 10%). Neither of these are enough to deter anyone from the amazing triple tax advantages only available with Health Savings Accounts.
And I was worried I was going to have to change my tailgate…
(UPDATE: Read ObamaCare vs. Health Savings Accounts article published in Ingram’s Magazine September, 2012)