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Health Care Reform Timeline: Important Dates You Need to Remember

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Obamacare?  Healthcare reform?  The Affordable Care Act?  Not sure what you need to do and when you need to do it? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

If you already have health insurance through your employer you are already covered.  You don’t need to do anything.

If you are uninsured or looking for more affordable health care, here are a few key dates to add to your calendar:


October 1, 2013 –Online Health Insurance Marketplaces open

Quick Tip:  Under the new health care law each state will have an online health insurance marketplace (also known as an exchange) where people can shop for health insurance.

  • If you are uninsured or just want to shop for more affordable health insurance you can begin shopping for and enroll in a health care plan in your state’s online health insurance marketplace.  Find the link to your state’s marketplace here.
  • You can apply for a subsidy to help you pay for your health insurance through the online health insurance marketplace. Your subsidy (also known as a tax credit) will be applied to your insurance premium when you purchase health insurance.


January 1, 2014  – Coverage Purchased Through Online Health Insurance Marketplaces Kicks In

  • If you purchased health insurance through an online health insurance marketplace, that plan will go into effect on January 1, 2014.
  • Although you are required to have health insurance in 2014, the penalty for being uninsured will not kick in until April 1, 2014. Visit an online health insurance marketplace if you’ve yet to purchase coverage.
  • You may have increased access to free or low-cost health care through Medicaid.   Medicaid may now be offered to you if you are under 65 with income less than about $15,302 ($31,155 for a family of four).  If eligible, you will not have to buy a plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

March 31, 2014 – Deadline to Purchase Health Insurance

  • Most uninsured Americans will have to be enrolled in a health care plan by this date or will receive a penalty or fine.  This penalty, or tax, will be reflected on your 2014 taxes, which you will file in 2015.
  • March 31, 2014 is the end of the open enrollment period for health insurance.  If you do not purchase health insurance during the open enrollment period you will not be able to get health coverage through the Marketplace until the next open enrollment period begins in October, unless you have a qualifying life change.

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

40 responses to “Health Care Reform Timeline: Important Dates You Need to Remember”

  1. My wife did not have health insurance before we were married in 2014, once we were married she then had health insurance. However, based on the turbotax calculation, the penalty is being assessed on our combined income when the reason she didn’t have insure was because of her individual income before we were married. Should this be the case? Would filing individually be a better option?

  2. I didn’t have coverage from Jan to June. On July 1 I was covered by Medicare. My husband had health insurance all year. We ended up with a penalty of $771…..

  3. Is there a way to receive an exception, or at least lessen the penalty, if I was laid off my job in July so I had insurance through them through July. I then got a job in November so planned on having insurance through them starting either December 1st or January 1st. I then decided to leave that job for a different job where my insurance wouldn’t start until February 1st. My husband had insurance the entire time through his employer but since I thought I would be getting it through a new job, I never applied for any other. Is there anything I can do for any type of exception or lessen the penalty?

  4. I lost my job which meant I lost my health insurance, I moved to a different state and got a new job which would cover part of my health insurance, but I was denied health insurance for some odd reason. will I be penalized?

  5. I will have an income of $225,000 for 2014 when December ends. I have Health Insurance paid by my employer, however, my wife and kids are not covered by medical. Only Dental and Vision. Reason, my Premiums are $8,000 a year, and there is a $10,000 deductible that has to be met before Insurance will even cover an Aspirin. No office visits are covered, it’s the least coverage available by law. So, with 4 kids at home, and paying College tuition for the 5th child (oldest who lives on her own), the $18,000 we would have to pay in Health Insurance Costs before it would be usable is more important to our budget and can be utilized for Care Clinics on an as needed basis.

    • This is from Healthcare.gov….

      If any of the following circumstances apply to you, you may qualify for a “hardship” exemption from the penalty:

      You were homeless
      You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure

      You received a shut-off notice from a utility company!!!!!!!

      You recently experienced domestic violence
      You recently experienced the death of a close family member
      You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property
      You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months
      You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months that resulted in substantial debt
      You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member
      You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. In this case, you don’t have the pay the penalty for the child.

      As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible for enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, lower costs on your monthly premiums, or cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace
      You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act
      Your individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other Marketplace plans are unaffordable
      You experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance

    • I also have been out of a job and cannot afford insurance at the actual rates. Can a penalty be avoided or an exception be used

  6. I had Medicaid up until augest of this year and my income went
    Up. now I’m self employed and because of my now higher income I no longer get Medicaid. I think my income at the end of 2014 won’t be more than 50,000 how much will my penalty be?

  7. My wife doesn’t have insurance but will have Medicare starting Nov 1, 2014. I already have Medicare in all of 2014. How does the penalty apply to us?

  8. I file my parents as my dependent because they do not have income. Since they do not have insurance, so the tax penalty for them uninsured will base on their no income or our household income?

  9. I am married and pregnant, I am covered under medicaid. My husband doesn’t have health insurance. My husband has to have Obamacare, is that correct? How about me, I’m under medicaid, do I have to sign up for Obama care too?
    I just don’t want us to get under any penalties.

    • If your husband is not currently insured, he will have to obtain insurance somehow; period. If you are already receiving Medicaid, Medicare (or, in California, Medi-Cal), you will not be penalized if you were covered for the year. I am on Medi-Cal, and will not be penalized because I make less than $20k a year (and, therefore, qualify for Medi-Cal). You do not have to sign up for Obamacare on the side since you are already covered by a qualifying public health plan.

  10. I am an expat but planning to return to the US in April.

    Last year my income was around $35K.

    My expected non adjusted income in the US for 2014 may be higher; between 90K and 100K.

    Do I qualify for an exception to the penalty? My US employer does not offer a plan that meets minimum value.

    Thank you

  11. My Fiancee doesn’t have insurance, we are getting married in May of 2014, meaning she will be without insurance for about 5months, She will thus be getting penalized for this. Since we are getting married we will be filing a joint return for 2014, are they only going to be looking at our total income when it comes to determining the penalties, or her income for those few months, the difference will literally be 1000s of dollars, as she makes very little, As I am the main financial supporter.
    Seeing as everything is going off of the 2014 income tax, I assume it would just look at the total numbers?
    Any insight on this matter?

  12. My spouse and I do not have health insurance but our three children are currently covered under Medicaid will their health care remain the same or will they lose their coverage?

  13. I have been a TurboTax customer for several years and enjoyed the ease and convenience of using the software. I was offered discounts by several of my financial institutions–a plus, besides being able to trtrieve previous years´s figures. In filing 2012 returns, I was shocked and anguished to encounter problems retrieving automatically tax form (e.g., 1099´s) amounts from all of of those institutions as in previous years. The reason was that TurboTax required any financial institution to be enrolled in Mint.com in order to provide the data directly via internet to TurboTax. There was no forewarning from any of my insitutions which offered discounts for using TurboTax. As a result, I missed the filing deadline, lost the discount offered by my bank, and had to spend extra laborious weeks tracking down the data on the internet, by phone and fax,etc., if posible. It is unconscionable that any responsible firm would make such drastic changes with negative consequences to its customers without even notifying them.–this applies to my bank and my other institutions which participated in your product offers. I know the problem was widespread based on blogs I read from many customers. I still do not have any explanation from my bank after asking several times.

  14. I am 25 on my fathers insurance through his employer. In May I will be 26 and have to go off his insurance. How do I go about finding coverage between May and October, when open enrollment happens?

  15. I appreciate the update but what I’m more concerned withI my 2013 Amended taxes that I filed I used turbo tax to do so. I PRINTED UP and mailed Iit out and now I not even Iin their system.

  16. I am 26 years old and have one child. I am single and make less than $13,000 per year. I have health insurance on my own but am going through a job change this week. My hours are being cut drastically. I can no longer continue to afford my plan….what can I do and what am I eligible for under all these new laws?

  17. I have medical insurance for 2014, but I do NOT have a prescription plan for 2014. Will I be assessed a tax penalty for not having a prescription plan?

    John in Maryland

  18. We applied for the Medicare program in California and were rejected. My daughter has sever Medical condition that requires psychiatric care. We had healthy families and they lost my paperwork I faxed in and dropped us. We barely get by as it is, what are we suppose to do? We live in California and they dropped the healthy families program. No one seems to be able to help us.

  19. I am 62 year old single, childless female, only able to find an as needed job which yields between $2500- 5000 per year since being laid off four years ago. With this income and a small savings account, I am barely able to pay my annual expenses.

    I live in SC, so unable to apply for medicaid.
    I understand these figures exempt me from paying the penalty for not having insurance but
    I also would like to convert around $10,poo a year from an IRA to a Roth so I will have tax-free money eventually when I start to collect retirement Will this conversion amount be considered income as far as the exception is concerned.? Or if I need to start drawing from an IRA to pay some bills, will that be counted?
    Everywhere I have read, it states that if your “income” is under approx $15,000, you are exempt from the penalty. But I cannot find anywhere that explains what is considered income for this exception.

    • Hi Mary Frances,
      You are exempt from penalty if your income is less than the IRS filing requirement which is $9,750 if you’re single and under 65 or if the lowest coverage available would be more than 8% of household income. See https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions/
      Regarding your IRA conversion or withdrawing from your IRA to pay bills, these would both be taxable events and would be a source of income considered when determining whether or not you are exempt from the requirement to purchase health insurance.
      For more answers to your specific health care questions visit TurboTaxAnswerXchange.com

      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  20. My husband makes about 29,000 a year and we will be a family of 5 in Nov/Dec. I received a letter stating that someone in our house will be effected by the new changes for our Medicaid/Badgercare Plus plan but won’t know who until December. We live in Wisconsin and they have changed the federal poverty income levels 100% for adults and 300% for kids. With baby number 3 arriving will this potentially change his eligibility status? With the government shut down right now are state/county offices even open to find out?

  21. Will 2013 tax returns require disclosure of HC provider name (Medicaid/Blue Cross etc.), account # and coverage amounts?
    For employee?
    For spouse and dependents?

    Will 2014 return be different?

    Will insuring companies/agencies be reporting info directly to irs?

    • Hi Doug,
      No, your 2013 taxes will not require that you disclose that information since the requirement to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act does not go into effect until 2014. Yes, insurance providers, employers, and the marketplace will be responsible for reporting that information to the IRS for your 2014 taxes. In 2012, employers already began reporting insurance provided on employees W-2s, which also goes to the IRS.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  22. I am currently an unemployed 49 yo male spending nearly $500 per month for cobra. Am I eligible to apply for more adfordable options despite a few minor preexisting health issues?

  23. Legal family resident here only 2 years living in US , family of 5 includec 3 kids 10, 6, 5 yr old with green card 10 years, do I have to enroll now as I dont have insurance nor medicaid or schipp Nevada program for childreN (not entitled because under 5 yrs residency even as permanent residents and attend school in Nevada, family income below 30k from oversea pension, not receiving any payment from US AT ALL).THANK YOU

  24. when i purchase insurance individually in 2014 and desire to apply for the federal tax credit on premiums paid, which tax return information will the IRS use as a basis for determining income level. 2012 tax return or 2013 tax return?

  25. I made $17,000 last year and expect to make about $20,000 this year. My wife makes about $53,000 this year. We had a child. She and the kid have insurance through her employer: my employer does not offer insurance. Because of our different situations we file married filing singly. I’ve heard that because of this I am not eligible for the health insurance premium subsidy. Is that true, would the health care penalty be based on my income alone or both of our income? Note I am in Colorado which has accepted the medicaid expansion, though I don’t think I will be eligible.

  26. I have an employer provided medical plan, for which I pay 20% of the total premium. When will the 80% my employer pays become taxable for me? Will it be taxed as ordinary income?

    • Hi David,
      You will not be taxed on the amount that your employer pays for you as a benefit. Under health care reform, you only receive a tax penalty if you do not purchase health insurance by March 31, 2014. You already have insurance so this doesn’t apply to you.

      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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