• ACA Resources

    Resources
    • ACA Video Series

      September 2013 - Brian Haile, Senior Vice President for Health Care Policy, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., talks about the basics of the Affordable Care Act in this ten-part video series.
      View the Series


    • Friends & Colleagues Letters

      April 3, 2014 – HHS: Enrollment to Continue through April 15th!

       

      It’s official: HHS has confirmed that enrollment in the federal marketplace will effectively continue through April 15, 2014.  This move follows the Monday release of a report from the left-leaning advocacy group Families USA, which notes that “Fully aligning the open enrollment period with the tax filing period would significantly increase enrollment.”  

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    • April 2, 2014 – Two Late-in-the-Game Policy Updates from HHS

      On the final day of open enrollment, HHS released two interesting pieces of ACA guidance.  We wanted to make sure that you were aware of these right-before-the-buzzer developments in case enthusiasm in the waning hours of open enrollment overtook you -- and you accidentally overlooked this news.  Consider this your instant policy replay!

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    • March 26, 2014 – Quick Summary of Treasury’s New DV Guidance

       

      Treasury just released a letter explaining that survivors of domestic violence can qualify for the premium tax credits.  

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    • March 25, 2014 – SUCCESS! HHS to continue marketplace enrollment through mid-April!

       

      The Washington Post is reporting tonight the HHS will allow consumers in the 36 states served by healthcare.gov to sign up for coverage through mid-April if they request an extension.  

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    • March 24, 2014 – ACA Implications of New Tax Filing Data from IRS

      The IRS just updated its federal income tax filing statistics through March 14, 2014.  Interestingly, total refunds as compared to this time last year appear to be up in both number (+2.3%) and amount (+4.2%).  

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    • March 24, 2014 – ACA, Tax Credits, and Domestic Violence

      The Washington Post is reporting this morning at least a partial fix to eligibility challenges of domestic violence survivors and the premium tax credits. No word yet on whether such individuals will be able to exercise this new policy flexibility during a special open period.
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    • March 20, 2014 – The NCAA, ACA, and Open Enrollment

       

       

      With the NCAA’s college basketball tournament upon us, many are completing their brackets and figuring out surreptitious ways to sneak views of working-hour games over the coming weeks

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    • March 18, 2014 – Tax Passion: The Skinny from Steber

       

      We are wide-eyed at the thought, but April 15th is right around the corner!  As the end of tax season draws near, late-filers may be wondering where to start.  We can look forward to the ACA implications next year – but what do you need to know NOW about taxes?  

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    • March 17, 2014 – What a Difference April 15th Could Make!

      Since HHS released its enrollment report last week, we’ve had some fun with a lil’ late night modeling. And we’ve come to one conclusion: if we can’t sleep until April 15th, neither should HHS. Here’s why: a special enrollment period to April 15th is the only way that HHS will be able to meet its revised enrollment goal of six million.

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    • March 17, 2014 – Fun Fact: St. Patrick’s Day and the ACA

       

      Having spent no small amount of time on airplanes recently, I saw an ad about St. Patrick’s Day – and immediately started thinking about the connection between the Irish and the ACA.  

       

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    • March 13, 2014 – ACA, Tax Credits, and Domestic Violence (Update)

      Domestic violence victims face unique challenges navigating the premium tax credits under the ACA.

       

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    • March 11, 2014 – Insight from Three Obscure ACA Metrics

      When HHS releases its next enrollment update in the coming days, the media will likely focus on three numbers: (1) total sign-ups for qualified health plans; (2) the proportion of enrollees between ages 18 and 34; and (3) state-specific numbers relevant for local constituencies.  And all three are sure to be fascinating numbers!  Goodness knows that we’ll have something fun to say about those soon after they are released.   

       

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    • March 5, 2014 – What’s the Significance Behind Latest ACA Delay?

      According to federal ACA regulations at 45 CFR § 153.100(c), states must issue by March 1, 2014 an obscure but HUGELY important notice for insurers.  

       

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    • March 4, 2014 – New ACA Guidance from HHS Likely this Week

      The Hill is reporting that HHS will announce this week an extension of its “if you like your policy” correction.

       

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    • March 4, 2014 – Individual Mandate (Penalty and Exemptions) Toolkit

      We continue to discuss the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – and the associated tax penalty with our tax customers.  Many uninsured taxpayers are shocked to learn that their penalty for lacking minimum essential coverage could be a LOT more than $95 in 2014.  

       

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    • March 3, 2014 – ‘Le’ ACA et Mardi Gras

      We understand that many folks will be at Mardi Gras celebrations tomorrow – so we thought that we’d provide you the appropriate linguistic cues and pertinent data to continue your health policy work while on location. Of course, Jackson Hewitt has in-house expertise here: George Brandes, our Director of Health Care Programs, holds a graduate degree from l’Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris) -- so we’ve got your French and policy data covered.

      View The Data

    • March 1, 2014 - Fun Fact of the Day: the Oscars and the ACA

      Interestingly, the 111th Congress passed the Affordable Care Act on March 21, 2010 after health care reared its head at the Academy Award ceremony two years prior.  One can only wonder what tomorrow night portends for our health care future!
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    • February 28, 2014 - HHS Guidance on Tax Credits and Marketplace Glitches

      The federal government just announced a new wrinkle in its ACA approach.  HHS released guidance late yesterday that may allow certain individuals who faced enrollment difficulties with Marketplaces to receive the tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
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    • February 27, 2014 - Dominican Independence Day and the ACA

      Earlier this month we explored an intriguing similarity between Major League Baseball players and Americans without coverage: the proportion of foreign-born.  Slightly more than 28% of players in the Majors were born outside of the United States.   As a fascinating coincidence, roughly the same proportion of uninsured adults age 20 to 40 (the age range of MLB players) is foreign-born.
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    • February 19, 2014 - Fun Fact of the Day: Justin Bieber and the ACA

       Justin Bieber is a Canadian citizen and reportedly wants remain so because of the Canadian health care system. So, does he have to adhere to the ACA’s individual mandate?
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    • February 18, 2014 - New Study: How to Help the Uninsured Now and Next Year

      Earlier today, Natalia Villacorta of Politico posted an article entitled “Who will help the newly insured as consumer programs end?”  She notes that federal funding for consumer assistance programs is time-limited, leaving many recently-insured and still-uninsured individuals without an advocate and assistance when the money run dry.  Will they be out of luck and left to fend for themselves?

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    • February 14, 2014 - “CHIP”ing Away at Confusion over ACA Deadlines: Why You Need to Enroll Your Kids NOW

      Uninsured Americans remain puzzled about the ACA deadlines for signing up for coverage.  Survey results indicate that more than 8 in 10 uninsured adults are confused about the relevant dates.   And it’s no wonder – not least because the deadlines continue to shift.
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    • February 13, 2014 - February Enrollment Report: Why HHS Didn’t Get Grinch’d

      Moments ago, HHS released the latest enrollment report for the ACA’s Marketplaces.  Thus far, about 3.3 million individuals have selected a qualified health plan on the new Marketplaces.  Moreover, the federal Marketplace reports a 62 increase in plan selections in January compared to previous three months – with faster growth among younger consumers.  Because previously-insured individuals were disproportionately likely to sign up so that they had no break in coverage, a greater proportion of persons who enrolled since January 1st were likely uninsured before they signed up.
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    • February 12, 2014 - ACA, MLB, and Spring Training (Part 2 of 2)

      In yesterday’s missive, I focused on the age and health status similarities between MLB players and the uninsured.  As we conclude this series, I wanted to turn to another intriguing commonality between MLB and Americans without coverage: the proportion of foreign-born.

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    • February 11, 2014 - ACA, MLB, and Spring Training (Part 1 of 2)

      Spring Training for Major League Baseball begins on Thursday (February 13, 2014).  Which naturally causes us to ask: What does the ACA and America’s pastime have in common?
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    • February 10, 2014 - Treasury’s Final Rule and State Medicaid Decisions

      Treasury just released the final rule for the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, otherwise known as the “employer shared responsibility payments” or § 4980H tax penalties.  We summarize the background, key points, implications, and a few technical issues below.  We would call particular attention to the Medicaid implications, which are a fascinating, if perhaps unintended, consequence of the final rule released today.

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    • January 29, 2014 - Groundhog Day and the ACA

      As you probably know, this Sunday (February 2, 2014) is Groundhogs Day.  Given all of the excitement at Jackson Hewitt about tax season and the ACA, it’s been hard to sleep – which has led to some pretty profound late-night online research sessions and mental musings.  So, with that background, we wanted to help clarify a question that has doubtlessly been keeping you up at night as well.
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    • January 29, 2014 - The Big Game, Taxes, ACA, and the Injured Reserve List

      We’ve been thinking a lot about taxes and health care, and our anticipation about Sunday’s Big Game brought some things to mind.  The Gridiron is many things to many people, and we generally take the risks in stride while we enjoy the excitement.  

       
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    • January 27, 2014 - Does the ACA Have a “Marriage Penalty”?

      According to the National Center for Health Statistics, January is the month during the year that has the least number of marriages performed. Yet, this period of courthouse calm may be unduly deceptive: Data from a variety of wedding planners suggest that serious ceremonial preparations are well underway for weddings slated for spring and summer.


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    • January 24, 2014 - Taxes, Grammys, and the ACA

      The most important day on the open enrollment calendar is probably one of the least known.  It’s nowhere featured on healthcare.gov, and precious few HHS officials are likely aware of its significance.  But we thought that we’d share the date with you, along with an explanation of why it is so critical.


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    • January 20, 2014 - Why the Uninsured Aren't Enrolling (Yet)

      Health care expert Bob Laszewski has a fascinating post this morning that is a must-read.*  Citing a study by McKinsey reported in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, he notes that in some states as few as one in ten consumers who bought coverage on the new marketplaces were previously uninsured.  He wryly observes that, “If this keeps up there won't be a ‘death spiral.’ Heck, so far the insurers are just re-enrolling their old customers at higher rates!”  Oh my.
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    • January 14, 2014 - Age and the ACA

      Yesterday’s enrollment report from HHS has much less to do with age than you might think.  A large proportion of the 2.2 million sign-ups on the new insurance marketplaces* are likely individuals who were already paying full-freight for individual coverage.  Now that these folks qualify for a tax credit subsidy, they have traded unsubsidized policies for subsidized ones in order to save money.
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    • January 13, 2014 - What does the Detroit Auto Show have in common with ObamaCare?

      The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opens today in Detroit.  But more than sharing two vowels, this auto extravaganza has some interesting implications for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

       

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    • January 2, 2014 - Why 1/31 is most important date during open enrollment

      The most important day on the open enrollment calendar is probably one of the least known.  It’s nowhere featured on healthcare.gov, and precious few HHS officials are likely aware of its significance.  But we thought that we’d share the date with you, along with an explanation of why it is so critical.


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    • December 20, 2013 - A New ACA Paperwork Party!

      HHS recently updated its guidance about hardship exemptions for the ACA tax penalties for those lacking health coverage.  But HHS has also now posted a summary of the revised exemption standards and the final versions of the seven different exemption application forms at https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions/.

       

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    • December 11, 2013 - ACA Individual Tax Penalty Explained

      Penalty myths abound! We continue to discuss the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – and the associated tax penalty with our tax customers. Many uninsured taxpayers are shocked to learn that their penalty for lacking minimum essential coverage could be a lot more than $95 in 2014. Indeed, that fact runs counter to the most common perceptions about the ACA’s penalty provision. View the article to learn more and calculate your tax penalty.

       NEW: Graphics about exemptions to the tax penalty

      Special Penalty Exemption for Low-Income Households in Non-Expansion States

      Tax Penalty Exemptions – See if One Applies to You


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    • December 9, 2013 – ACA, Tax Credits, and Domestic Violence

      Several tax firms and advocacy groups have raised the issue about innocent/injured spousesin the context of the premium assistance tax credits and related filing requirements.  As you know, recipients of the final tax credit rule must file joint returns for the tax year for which they claim the credit.  IRC § 36B(c)(1)(C); 26 CFR § 1.36B–2(b)(2).  This may prove particularly challenging for victims of domestic violence, who may face understandable difficulties in filing joint returns.  However, the final rules and filing requirements do not currently offer an accommodation to these individuals.   

       

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    • November 21, 2013 - Open Enrollment Changes Are Afoot!

      The Obama Administration is moving (and extending) the 2015 open enrollment period. This is a hugely important development for uninsured Americans. And it’s fairly easy to sum up our reaction: hallelujah(!!!) – but not quite Amen.
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    • November 14, 2013 - Does New Fix Expose More Folks to Penalties?

      The President announced today a policy intending to help individuals receiving cancellation notices from their health plans. Even so, the new policy appears to disregard actuarial and insurance realities: you can’t unscramble the insurance eggs once you’ve broken the shells of the risk pools. While the President discussed changes to the risk corridor program and other technical fixes to address some of these concerns, we and many insurance experts remain unsure whether and how this suggested fix will work in practice. View the article to read more.
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    • November 13, 2013 - Why the White House is Right

      Earlier today, HHS released the initial enrollment figures for the new insurance marketplaces. While these numbers are low, the White House is absolutely correct: these early data are not in any way indicative of future enrollment. But the real reason that the White House is right is itself fascinating. Further, it points to larger policy issues about the timing of future open enrollments. View the article to read more.
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    • November 7, 2013 - Aiming Cupid’s Arrow at the Exact Mark

      The past two weeks have brought lots of news about which families may face the penalties if they sign up for coverage prior to the end of the ACA’s initial open enrollment period (currently slated to close on March 31, 2014). We review below the recent developments – and the issues that remain outstanding. View the article to read more.
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    • November 4, 2013 - No Love for Medicaid? No Cupid for CHIP?

      HHS recently announced that people who enroll in the ACA’s new tax credit program before the close of the initial open enrollment period (currently March 31, 2014) may be exempt from tax penalties associated with the individual mandate. This corrects the “Valentine’s Day wrinkle” in the current regulations that would otherwise impose tax penalties on individuals who sign up for coverage on the new exchange marketplaces after Valentine’s Day. View the report to read more.
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    • October 29, 2013 - New HHS Guidance on Valentine’s Day Wrinkle

      HHS has just issued guidance addressing the Valentine’s Day wrinkle. Late this evening, HHS published a clarification acknowledging that individuals who sign up for coverage on the new exchange marketplaces after Valentine’s Day but before the end of the open enrollment period could be liable for the tax penalties associated with the ACA’s individual mandate. View the article to read more.
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    • October 23, 2013 - Creating a Meaningful Opportunity to Enroll

      The ACA’s rocky rollout may have lost a critical opportunity to enroll consumers when they have cash in their pockets. Beginning in November, many families begin to redirect their spending towards holiday purchases. Cash-strapped families simply won’t be able to find extra money to pay new insurance premiums during the holiday period. Thus, the glitches with healthcare.gov have prevented many of these families from buying coverage during October in the pre-Holiday season, when these families could best afford to do so. View the article to read more.
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    • October 22, 2013 - Valentine’s Day and the ACA

      Might there be potential for some “Valentine’s Day” messaging reminding consumers to sign up by mid-February in order to leverage the short coverage gap exemption — and to avoid the tax penalties? View the article to read more.
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    • October 21, 2013 - Moving Back Home: Unexpected Implications of the ACA on Adult ‘Boomerang’ Children

      The ACA has some surprising implications for the so-called “boomerang children,” or the 12 million adult children who for financial reasons have moved home to live with their parents at some point during the recent economic recession. Many of these adult children are uninsured – and may qualify for the ACA’s insurance affordability programs, which would provide them with free or subsidized health insurance. However, “boomerang” children who remain uninsured may expose their parents to new tax penalties under the ACA. Unfortunately, this outcome may catch these uninsured boomerang children and their unsuspecting parents entirely by surprise. These issues are summarized in the this report.
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    • October 3, 2013 - Same Sex Marriage and the ACA

      CMS recently issued more eligibility guidance about same-sex marriage – and we interpret the tax and eligibility implications below.
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    • September 13, 2013 - IRS issues new ACA guidance on HRAs and FSAs

      Earlier today, the IRS released Notice 2013-54 (attached). This document provides technical guidance about the effects of the ACA’s market reforms and other provisions on health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and other types of employer plans (including employee assistance plans or EAPs).
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    • September 10, 2013 - FAQs on Unintended Consequences of the Federal Decision on Automatic Payments

      As you may know, the federal government last week adopted a rule that bans insurers from discriminating against unbanked consumers. The federal announcement last week is fantastic news for the 8.5 million unbanked, uninsured Americans who are eligible for the new tax credits under the ACA! While we celebrate this federal action, though, we remain concerned with a serious shortcoming in the regulation. The preamble to the final rule allows insurers to prevent consumers from making automatically recurring payments from their credit or debit cards. This was an surprising policy choice, and our new FAQs below illustrate some of the deeply troubling implications.
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    • September 5, 2013 - New IRS rules on ACA reporting requirements

      The IRS has just released proposed regulations regarding the health coverage reporting requirements in §§ 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as added by PPACA §§ 1502(a) and 1514(a), respectively. Please find below the IRS media release from late today.
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    • August 26, 2013 - Update on ACA’s small employer tax credit

      The IRS issued proposed rules late on Friday regarding the ACA’s small employer health care tax credit, which the Federal Register formally published on Monday, August 26, 2013.
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    • August 27, 2013 - Update on new IRS rules

      The IRS released the final rules today for the individual mandate and associated “shared responsibility payment” authorized by § 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code (as added by § 1501(a) of the Affordable Care Act).
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    • August 28, 2013 - Victory for unbanked, uninsured Americans!

      I am writing you with news about a final rule that HHS released earlier today. As you may know, Jackson Hewitt took a leading position earlier this year in publicly urging the federal government to prohibit insurers from discriminating against unbanked individuals who are eligible for the ACA’s tax credits.
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    • August 29, 2013 - IRS Announcement on Tax Filing Status of Same Sex Couples

      On August 29, the IRS ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes – regardless of their current state of residence. Because taxes and ACA are inextricably linked, there is of course a number of health care implications.
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    • May 2013 – Enrollment Alchemy: Turning Medical Debit into An Incentive

      Many individuals with substantial medical debts remain uninsured even after the implementation of the ACA’s insurance affordability programs. Consequently, hospitals may face ongoing liabilities for uncompensated emergent and acute care. For reasons that may initially appear counter-intuitive, these concerns may themselves become a barrier to enrollment for many individuals. This brief explores one promising policy concept.
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    • May 2013 – Uninsured + Unbanked = Unenrolled

      More than one in four uninsured Americans eligible for the new premium assistance tax credits under the ACA does not have a bank account. However, many insurance companies plan to require customers to pay premiums automatically through a bank account. These practices by insurance companies will undermine efforts to expand health coverage under the ACA.
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    • April 2013 – Health Reform and You: Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

      While upholding other provisions of the ACA in June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not compel states to expand Medicaid for certain low-income adults. Federal and state law prior to the enactment of the ACA limited Medicaid eligibility to very low income persons who are aged, blind, disabled, minor children, pregnant women and parents. Congress attempted under the ACA to force states to expand Medicaid to all categories of low-income adults under age 65 who were at or below 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Under the Court’s ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius, though, states now have the option rather than an effective requirement to expand Medicaid to such adult residents.

      Our goal in this report was to estimate the order of magnitude of the potential employer liabilities by state.

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    • March 2013 – The Supreme Court’s ACA Decision and Its Hidden Surprise for Employers

      States that do not expand Medicaid leave employers (with fifty or more full time equivalent employees) exposed to higher shared responsibility payments under the ACA. Paradoxically, state government efforts to constrain Medicaid costs growth in and after 2017 may lead to higher net taxes for employers in such jurisdictions beginning in 2014. This report examines the issue and provides a state-by-state estimate of the total potential liabilities for employers.
      View The Report