If you already have health insurance, here’s the big question for you: Do I have to find new health insurance under Obamacare? Probably not. According to Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), about 80% of taxpayers who had health insurance in 2014 simply will check a box on their tax return that says they had health insurance, and that it complied with Obamacare rules for minimum essential coverage. If you fit into one of the categories below, you can rest assured that you’re covered under Obamacare.
Employer-sponsored health insurance: Many Americans have health coverage through their employer. Those policies are provided by Anthem, Optima, United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, Cigna, GHI, Coventry, and many more. If you have employer-sponsored coverage, you are in compliance with Obamacare. When in doubt, call the number on the back of your insurance card.
Medicare: Medicare covers individuals 65 and older. In fact, thanks to Obamacare, Medicare recipients have access to more benefits, such as physicals and mammograms, covered at 100%. Medicare benefits purchased a la carte are not considered minimum essential coverage. Only by combining Medicare Parts A and B, or Parts A and C will such Medicare recipients be in compliance with the law.
Medicaid: The disabled or those in an especially low-income bracket are eligible for Medicaid or a combination of Medicare and Medicaid. Many Medicaid plans are supplemental, which means they help the medically needy afford specific treatments. Supplemental Medicaid plans alone are not enough to satisfy Obamacare. For example, some Medicaid plans cover only services for expectant mothers or for those who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. If you have a limited benefit Medicaid plan, you should see if you qualify for more benefits or if you are eligible for an exemption to the Obamacare penalty.
Military: Comprehensive TRICARE and CHAMPVA satisfy Obamacare rules. The same goes for the Veteran’s health care program, the Spina bifida health care program, and Refugee Assistance. Limited benefit TRICARE is not enough to satisfy Obamacare, but you may be eligible for a penalty exemption. For questions about your VA Benefits, call 1-877-222-8387. For questions about your TRICARE coverage, call 1-877-874-2273.
If you’re uninsured, or your plan doesn’t include all minimum essential benefits, you may be subject to the Obamacare tax penalty. If you think you could be penalized then you should contact a tax professional. For more information, check out our website on Healthcare and Your Taxes.
-- By Alice Robeson