For the first time ever, the next time you file your taxes, you will be fined if you don’t have health coverage. If you are still uninsured, now is the time to pay attention: open-enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is taking place now. Enroll before February 15, 2015 and you’ll avoid getting fined on your 2015 taxes.
“For those who didn’t have coverage in 2014, the penalty will be one percent of their taxable income or $95, whatever is higher,” says, Lisa Zamosky, a health care correspondent and TurboTax blog contributor. That may not sound like much, but the penalty will continue to increase each year. “For 2015, the penalty will be 2 percent of your income or $325, whichever is higher, and for 2016 it will be even more,” she says.
Because choosing a healthcare plan can be daunting, TurboTax recently unveiled their new TurboTax Health feature, to help people compare and contrast different plans, and to calculate how it will affect them come tax time – all for free. And if you are insured, whether it’s through your workplace, on your own or through Medicaid, TurboTax Health walks you through what to expect when filing your taxes.
If you currently have coverage, keep an eye out for a form that will be heading your way in January, around the time you will also receive your W-2s. The form will show that you have healthcare coverage and provide vital information you’ll need when filing your taxes. Those who were covered through the Affordable Care Act in 2014 will receive two forms: one showing the received financial help and one proving the coverage.
If you don’t currently have health coverage, it’s important to start comparing your options now to avoid being fined when you file your 2015 taxes. TurboTax Healthhelps you weigh your options by asking you simple questions about yourself. It will tell you how much the healthcare options available to you will cost you per month, and also help you find a personalized plan to fit your health and familial needs.
Zamosky also stresses that for people who still feel overwhelmed by choosing a healthcare plan, there is plenty of free help available, including toll-free numbers athealthcare.gov and navigators who will walk you through the process in person free of charge. (Hunt one down at localhelp.healthcare.gov.)