If Obamacare is repealed by the Supreme Court, California will step into the vacuum. It may not be pretty and I am sure there will be a new tax on something, but California will figure a way to continue with the health insurance subsidies through Covered California.
Posts related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and potential changes to the rules, primarily in California.
The Social Security retirement income is really important. Your spouse may be on Medicare, and not seeking health insurance, but if they are receiving Social Security retirement benefits, that income, even though it may not be fully taxed, it must be included in the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. Many families have failed to include the Social Security retirement benefits in their income estimated and then found they earned too much money to qualify for the Premium Tax Credit subsidy and they had to pay it all back.
When the Byrd’s put all their information into the application, it calculates that they should pay no more than 7.30% of their income toward health insurance ($3,352 per year), and subtracts that from the annual cost of the Second Lowest Cost Silver Plan ($16,368 – $3,352 = $13,014.12) The exchange then divides the annual $13,014 of the subsidy by 12 months to get a monthly subsidy of $1,084.50.
On the old 1040 tax forms you report any repayment of excess Premium Tax Credit on line 46, and any additional PTC owed to you on line 69. For 2018, repayment of the PTC subsidy is reported on Schedule 2 Tax (line 46) and additional subsidy tax credit is listed on Schedule 5 (line 70) Other Payments and Refundable Credits. It’s important to know where to find these numbers if you are trying to forecast for the next year and are using the past figures as a guide.
The real story is that rates, especially for older people, have risen so much in the individual and family market that health insurance under the IRS definition of being unaffordable can happen at a very young age. Below are examples of the least expensive Bronze plan rates in Region 1 and Region 3. Within a thirty minute drive between Auburn (Region 3) and Grass Valley (Region 1) in Northern California the rates can be sharply higher.
Based on the data I’ve seen, the ratio of the actuarially fair cost differential of insuring someone in their 20s and someone in their late 50s or early 60s is roughly 5 to 1. Setting the ratio at 3 to 1 causes distortions that unfavorably impacts young adults and, as a result, degrades the risk pool. Insurance companies are reluctant to put themselves in a position in which they risk losing money with additional customers and will set prices for older adults so that they can recover their costs in that age group. The 3 to 1 ratio limits how much they can reduce premiums for young adults. The resulting premiums represent “unfair” insurance for young adults and discourages them from purchasing insurance. Discouraging young adults from purchasing insurance exacerbates the adverse selection problem in the insurance market and reduces the incentive for insurance companies to compete for older customers.
31,493 tax returns – programming errors caused the IRS to incorrectly compute the allowable PTC amount. As a result, 16,375 taxpayers potentially received approximately $5.2 million more in the PTC than they were entitled to receive, and 15,118 returns potentially received approximately $6.7 million less in the PTC than they were entitled to receive. IRS management informed us that programing was updated on or before July 31, 2016. We will evaluate the IRS’s corrective action in our annual assessment of the 2017 Filing Season.
Access to health care services is not equal in the United States. Your health plan determines the type of care you receive. The health plans in the employer, individual, and Medicaid markets are separate and they are not equal. The ACA moved us in direction of more equality for all residents regardless of the market type of the health plan. Current Republican proposals under President Trump will widen the gap in disparity between group plans and individual plans. We need to move in a direction the guarantees access to the same level of health care services regardless of whether you work for government, a large employer, have your own individual plan, or are awarded Medicaid because of your income. It is time to dismantle the flawed ‘separate but equal’ assumption of health insurance in the United States.
The RFI is not a serious attempt at gathering comments on how to stabilize the health insurance markets across the country. Trump and Price have already set in motion the slow dismantling of regulations that kept the ACA markets relatively stable. This is a thinly veiled attempt to generate regulation gutting suggestions that will further destroy meaningful health insurance for Americans. I can guarantee that any real suggestions that would work to contain health care costs, which are the real driver of ever escalating health insurance premiums, will be ignored.
The similarities between Medicare Advantage plan and the ACA plans through the Marketplace are straight forward. Individuals are enrolling in private ACA health insurance and the federal government is subsidizing part of the cost of the health insurance to make it affordable. One of the main differences is how the federal government reimburses the insurer. Medicare beneficiaries receive an indirect subsidy to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan according to county they live in and based on historical health care cost data. Individuals and families enrolling in a health plan through an Affordable Care Act exchange receive a subsidy based on their income.