Frequently Asked Questions about the Affordable Care ActI’ve heard of the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or “Obamacare”). What is it? The Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) is a law that makes new ways for you to get affordable health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance, you may have to pay a penalty when you file your taxes. How much is the penalty for not having insurance? If you didn't have health insurance, you may have to pay a penalty on your taxes. In 2015, the penalty is the greater of $325 per uninsured person in your family (no more than $975), or 2 percent of your total household income. The penalty is paid with your tax return by adding the amount to your total taxes, which can reduce your refund. The good news is that Jackson Hewitt is here to help you keep all the refund you deserve. Just come file your taxes with us in January. We’ll make it easy for you to figure out how these new government programs affect you and your refund. How does the ACA (“Obamacare”) help me get affordable health insurance? Qualifying households can apply advanced payments of the premium tax credit to their health insurance premium costs during the year. You can use those tax credits to help pay your insurance premiums. To qualify for the credit, your income must be below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), you must purchase your insurance through your state's insurance Marketplace, and you may not file using the married filing separately status. In some cases, the tax credit may be large enough to make your coverage free. Many states now offer “expanded” Medicaid eligibility. In general, that means that you may now qualify for coverage under your state’s Medicaid program. In most states, Medicaid is free coverage. Children may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Expanded Medicaid eligibility is not available in all states. Did my state expand Medicaid? Some states haven’t made a decision about Medicaid yet. For the latest information about your state’s decision on Medicaid go to www.healthcare.gov. Or you can call them at 1-800-318-2596. How does the tax credit work? There is a tax credit to help you pay for your health insurance. Some taxpayers may even qualify for free health insurance. If your family income is below a certain amount (400% of the federal poverty level) you may be eligible for the premium tax credit. You may choose to have advanced payments of your credit amount sent to your health insurance provider to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for insurance. You must file your tax return before April 15 (April 18 in 2016) to reconcile your advance payments with your actual credit on Form 8962. Any difference from the reconciliation will be included in the tax return final refund or balance due. What if I’m sick? Can I be turned down for coverage? The ACA or “Obamacare” also changes some rules about how health insurance works. You can’t be turned down for coverage because you are sick. And health insurance plans now cover preventive care, usually at no cost. What can Jackson Hewitt do for me? We are the experts on the effect of the ACA on taxes. We know which forms to use and when and where to apply for any necessary exemptions. We can also help you, and your children, sign up for free coverage through your state’s Medicaid/CHIP program, if you qualify. We offer this service for free when you file your taxes with us. What does the ACA have to do with taxes? Your taxes and health care are connected. The government has a program to help you access free or low-cost health insurance through subsidies including advanced payment of a tax credit. If you don’t have insurance you may be able to get coverage in those programs. Eligibility depends on how much money you make, how many people you have in your family, and if you have affordable employer provided coverage available. How can Jackson Hewitt help? When you file your taxes with Jackson Hewitt… We'll complete the appropriate lines and/or forms on your tax return. We’ll simplify the process. We’ll actually help you get enrolled in free health coverage through your state’s Medicaid program, if you qualify. If you have kids, they may also qualify for free health insurance. If you qualify for a tax credit, our partner Getinsured.com can actually get you enrolled in free or affordable health insurance. When do I need to sign up for insurance? To be sure you don’t have to pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2016, you need to be signed up by December 15, 2015. You have until January 31, 2016 to sign up for Marketplace health insurance in 2016. We would be happy to help you enroll through our partner, Getinsured.com. Just stop by your local Jackson Hewitt office and we’ll get you started. There is no limit to when you can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and this type of health coverage is generally free. What happens if I choose not to enroll? If you do not have health insurance, then you may have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS – which means the IRS could take money out of your refund. If you don’t get a refund then you might just owe more money to the IRS. Does Jackson Hewitt charge a fee for helping me with my health care eligibility? As part of your paid tax preparation, Jackson Hewitt will help you figure out your eligibility for free! There is no additional fee for helping you find out what you are eligible for. When will Jackson Hewitt be able to help people enroll? Most Jackson Hewitt locations can help you now. Our licensed partner, Getinsured.com, can also help you get enrolled at the same time. I have health insurance through my job. Can I get a tax credit? To get the credit you must get your health insurance through the Marketplace. Generally, you don't qualify for Marketplace insurance if you are offered insurance by your employer.