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Same-Sex Couples and The Affordable Care Act: What Do I Need to Know?

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With the 2013 ruling to overturn DOMA, many same-sex couples are now headed down the aisle to marital bliss. And while wedding bells call for celebration, delicious cake and vows, many same-sex married couples now need to figure out if the Affordable Care Act impacts their taxes and finances.

Health care may not be at the top of every marriage checklist, but it may affect your finances and taxes. To make your life a little bit easier, TurboTax has done the work for you and laid out the relevant facts about the new health care law.

Employer and Private Insurance

If you are a newly married same-sex couple and you receive health coverage through an employer or private insurance, you will be able to get the same spousal insurance offerings as heterosexual couples if you were legally married in a state that recognizes same sex marriage.

Although the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will enforce the policy effective in 2015, they are urging insurance companies to enact this now. So check with your employer or insurance company on how your plan is changing.

Navigating the Marketplace

For health care coverage beginning in 2015, legally married same-sex couples will have the same health insurance benefits as heterosexual couples in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Keep in mind that many insurers already offer the same benefits for 2014, so check to see if this currently applies to your health coverage.

Since the Department of Human Health Services exercises federal authority on this issue, legally married same-sex couples cannot be discriminated against. This holds true, regardless of what state you live in, where your insurance company is located and where your plan is handled.

You can renew your current plan or choose a new one for 2015 during the open enrollment period, which starts November 15, 2014 – so gear up for signups to begin soon.

Government Assistance Through the Marketplace

Now that you have tied the knot, it is time to rack in the savings! Legally married same-sex couples purchasing health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace can apply and may qualify for a subsidy also known as a premium tax credit.

The subsidy or premium tax credit is government assistance that helps you pay for your health insurance since you are able to apply advance premium tax credits to your health insurance premium.

How can you qualify? You might be eligible when you purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace if you are not able to get coverage through your employer or government plan and meet certain income limits. The tax credit can be paid in advance directly to your insurance company, or you can wait to get the credit when you file your taxes.

To see if you will be eligible for a subsidy when you purchase health insurance in the marketplace, check out this health care calculator.

Unmarried Couples

For unwed same-sex couples, you are seen as two distinct households. For Medicaid and government assistance (subsidy or premium tax credit), each of your individual incomes will determine eligibility. If each qualify for any financial assistance, you will each receive separate subsidies.

As with all tax laws, TurboTax has you covered. If you have more questions about the Affordable Care Act and if the law impacts you and your taxes, you can visit TurboTax Health to get answers.




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