12 On Your Side: 2012 Taxes & health care

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- What does filing your taxes have to do with going to the doctor? A lot because of the Affordable Care Act.

The information on your 2012 taxes will be used to determine pay next year for health care if your employer doesn't offer insurance.

Tiffany Bash visits her tax preparer's office every January, but she is in for a surprise this year.

Elizabeth Owens: "So you this is news to you?"
Tiffany Bash: "Yeah."
Elizabeth Owens: "It's a shock to you that you got to have insurance next year?"
Tiffany Bash: "Yes!"

Bash had no clue what she is about to file now will determine how much she will pay for health care.

"It's important for people to file their 2012 tax return to get on record what their income levels are," said Steve Harvey with H&R Block.

Harvey says the government will use information on taxpayers' 2012 returns to determine the amount each family will pay for health insurance if they don't already have it.

Bash works part time so she doesn't qualify for insurance through her employer and doesn't collect Medicaid. She will need to purchase a government-issued health care plan by the end of the year.

"The cost of the plan is a function of your family's income, not individual, but family," Harvey said.

Families could qualify for Medicaid if they are at least family members and the total household income is around $15,000 to $30,000.

Other families could qualify for an exchange which is like a discount for health care. The discount or how much you pay will be calculated by your income, household size and other factors.

If you don't have health insurance either through your employer or through the government by the end of the 2013, you will be fined. The penalty for not having health insurance doesn't seem too bad, at first. In 2014, the fine is $95. In 2015, it is $325. By 2016, uncovered taxpayers will pay $695 in fines.

"It's going to be money out of my pocket," Bash said.

She's just hoping her returns this year help her qualify for an exchange.

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