Make us your home page
Instagram

Tax help comes with health insurance advice

Derrick Bean filed his income taxes at an H&R Block office in Los Angeles this month, and the 26-year-old left with something unexpected: a price quote on federally subsidized health insurance.

Using the information from his 2012 return, a tax adviser told him that he would qualify for significant government help and pay only about $65 a month in premiums under the federal health care law. If he skips coverage, H&R Block warned him, he faces a $95 tax penalty next year and $356 the following year.

"I was surprised to hear all that," Bean said. "It's good to finally see some concrete evidence that this is happening."

As tax season kicks into high gear across the country, millions of Americans are getting their first taste of the biggest change to health insurance in nearly half a century. Many of the changes in President Obama's Affordable Care Act take effect in January, when most Americans will be required to buy coverage or incur a penalty.

The individual effects and consequences of the nation's health care overhaul in 2014 are far from certain, but insurance companies, tax consultants and other financial planners are starting to offer cost estimates for next year and describe the penalties for inaction.

For many consumers, their 2012 tax returns will offer some of the first clues on what financial aid may be available and what coverage may cost.

The Internal Revenue Service and state insurance exchanges will rely primarily on 2012 federal tax returns, officials say, to verify people's income and household size and to help determine what premium subsidies are available. By October, state exchanges are slated to open for enrollment and allow comparison-shopping of health plans.

Nationwide, H&R Block officials are urging customers who have existing health coverage to examine the estimated cost of subsidized insurance through the new exchange since they may be paying more for their employer plan.

Tax help comes with health insurance advice 02/24/13 [Last modified: Sunday, February 24, 2013 9:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick Scott appoints 'my friend,' Jimmy Patronis, as Florida CFO

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed a long-time friend and political supporter, Jimmy Patronis, to replace Jeff Atwater as Florida's next chief financial officer, making him one of three members of the Cabinet that sets state policy on a wide range of issues. He'll take over Friday.

    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy

    Autos

    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  4. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.

    Corporate

    DETROIT — Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of faulty air bag inflators.

  5. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]