Recent Tax Updates

Individual Requirement to Have Insurance and State Insurance Exchanges

August 7, 2013

As we near the open enrollment period for the individual insurance requirement, now is the time to become more familiar with what people without health insurance will need to do when October 1, 2013 arrives. Below are the highlights of what the Affordable Care Act requirements are for obtaining health insurance, how the enrollment process on a State Exchange will operate, and how the premium assistance subsidy will work.

Individual Requirement to Obtain Health Insurance
Everyone will be required to have health insurance that meets a minimum level of benefits beginning on January 1, 2014.

If a person does not obtain health insurance for 2014, they will be required to pay an additional tax when they file their 2014 Federal income tax return. The additional tax for 2014 will be calculated as the greater of:

  • 1% of their income that exceeds their filing threshold based on their filing status; or
  • $95 for the taxpayer and if applicable, the spouse and dependents not to exceed $285 for 2014. The additional tax for dependents under age 18 is $47.50 for 2014.

For a complete explanation of how the additional tax will be calculated, see the Individual Penalty for Not Having Health Insurance page on the CrossLink website.

State Exchanges and Premium Assistance Subsidy
People who do not have health insurance will be able to obtain it at the State Exchange located in their State of residence. The State Exchange will also determine the potential amount of premium assistance subsidy that individuals qualify for.

The subsidy is designed to help people pay for their 2014 health insurance premiums. It is essentially a pre-payment of the premium tax credit that will be calculated when they file their 2014 Federal income tax return.

Here is how the State Exchange will work:

  • Most people will sign up with the exchange via the internet by creating an account and filling out an online application on their State Exchange's website.
  • The Exchange will use the information from the application and their income from their 2012 Federal return to first determine if they are eligible for coverage under a government health insurance program such as Medicaid.
  • If not eligible for a government program, the exchange will determine what their subsidy is.
  • Finally, the person applying may select an insurance plan that is offered by their State Exchange.

For more information on State Exchanges, see the following pages on the Federal government's website:

Health Insurance Premium Subsidy
The Health Insurance Premium Subsidy is also known as the Advance Premium Tax Credit.

A person is eligible for a subsidy (advance premium tax credit) to help pay for their 2014 health insurance premiums if they obtain their insurance at a State Exchange and their income is between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Line.

It is important to remind people that the subsidy does not pay for the entire premium and the subsidy is paid directly to the insurance company. Individuals must pay a minimum amount of the premium based on where they fall on the Federal Poverty Line.

The minimum amount a person must pay is calculated as a percentage of their income and it ranges from 2%, if they fall between 100% and 133% of the Federal Poverty Line, up to 9.5%, if they fall between 300% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Line.

For a more detailed explanation of how the subsidy is determined, see the Premium Assistance Subsidy page on the CrossLink website.