What is Obamacare?

Health Care Female doctor thinking in front of question marks

You might not know, but Obamacare, health care reform, and the Affordable Care Act all mean the same thing. They are the unofficial names for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a national health care plan signed into law by President Obama that aims to provide the majority of Americans with access to affordable health care.

The bill was initially signed into law on March 23, 2010 and was upheld by a Supreme Court ruling on June 28, 2012.

Here are the most important things to know about Obamacare:

  • Obamacare requires that all Americans (with a few exceptions) enroll in a health insurance plan either through their employer, a private provider or through a state or federally assisted program by March 31, 2014. If you don’t enroll by that date, the government will impose a health care tax penalty on your 2014 tax return (the one you file in 2015).
  • The requirement to purchase health care does NOT impact your 2013 tax return.
  • If you already have health insurance, you don’t have to change a thing.
  • If you don’t have insurance, you’ll be able to shop for and purchase health insurance through the online Health Insurance Marketplace as soon as October 1, 2013. It’s a good idea to start getting informed about what exactly the Health Insurance Marketplace is and how it works.
  • If you can’t afford to buy health insurance, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the government to help pay for the cost, called a subsidy or a health care tax credit. To see if you’re eligible for a subsidy, check out this health care eligibility calculator.

TurboTax is here to help explain health care reform and how it affects you and your taxes, so that you can make the best decision for your health and finances.

Have specific questions about how this impacts you?  Leave them below or get health care answers in our TurboTax community.