Does the Obamacare Deadline affect you?
Beginning January 1, 2014, everyone is required to have health insurance or risk facing a penalty. The penalty in 2014 is 1% of annual income or $95 per person (whichever is higher) and this increases to 2.5% in 2016 or $695 per person.
The deadline to sign up for benefits is March 1, 2014. However, you do not want to wait until March 1 to sign up because if you don’t sign up by the 15th of the month, you will not be able to actually use the insurance until the 1st of the following month. In other words, if you sign up on February 16th (or February 25th, or even March 1st), your insurance will not kick in until April 1st.
Keep in mind, if you are receiving Medicare, or have employer-provided insurance (or you are on your spouse’s insurance), you are not required to sign up for insurance on an exchange. And, if you are required to sign up for insurance, chances are you will qualify for subsidies that will help cover the cost of the premiums. The plans fall into one of five categories: platinum, gold, silver, bronze or catastrophic policies (available only to those under 30). You can obtain more information about the policies available, pricing, etc. by going to www.healthcare.gov.
How do you qualify for subsidies?
Your modified adjusted gross income (defined below) must be between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (400% of the federal poverty level for an individual is $46,000 and for a family of 4 is $94,000 in 2013). The exchange website calculates everything for you – you just have to have all your tax information available when you sign up. The subsidy is basically an advance tax credit that reduces what you pay for the policy. You will have to estimate your income for the year when you sign up for coverage and the figures will be adjusted when you file you 2014 taxes. If you are curious about the amount of the subsidy you may be entitled to, click on this link to run a quick calculation: http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/.