Speaking to City of San Bernardino About Tax Implications of Affortable Care Act/Covered CAlifornia

Yesterday, I attended an event by Covered California where some top officials flew in from Sacramento to have a discussion about Covered Califo10402937_1531182990480939_6076562254069810799_nrnia and current updates, concerns, tips for the last month of open enrollment.

It really bothered me when they mention there was over 700 registered agents in the area that was notified about this event, and only about 50 actually showed up. How are you supposed to give your clients the best possible help if you do not really understand what is happening.

I learned so much in this 3 hour session it should have been mandatory for all agents, there was a lot of valuable insights, tips, and recommendation we learned.

I  spent quite a bit of time speaking with the Director of Sales for Covered California, Kirk Whelan.

The highlight, was when I was honored to be asked to give my insights on the tax implications this year with IRS and Affordable Care Act.

I have a unique insight being a licensed tax preparer and Certified Covered California Insurance Agent.

After the event, I was invited by the City of San Bernardino Employment & Training Agency, to speak and educate up to 30 of their field staff and Certified Enrollment Counselors for Covered California, to discuss what to they can expect this tax season, to discuss the 1095 forms that consumer will start getting any day, and to discuss more about tax implications, tax penalties, and subsidies.

Looking forward to speaking at this event. If you have any questions about how ACA could affect your taxes gives us a call 909-570-1103

Understanding How The Affordable Care Act Will Affect Your 2014 Tax Return

It’s hard to believe that the tax return filing season is just a couple of weeks away.  While some of our clients are unable to complete their return until later in the year, others are ready to “get it done” as soon as possible.  Regardless of which group you find yourself in, it’s very important to understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act on your tax filing process.

2014 is the first year in which the ACA truly affects the average American’s tax return.  That’s because of the necessity of proving compliance with the Individual Mandate, and because of the requirement of reconciling the Premium Tax Credit (for those with who are receiving the benefits of this program).

As one of our clients we obviously don’t expect you to understand everything about the Affordable Care Act.  That’s our job!  But we do want to get you ready for the new landscape of healthcare and taxes.  It’s important to have a general understanding of the requirements in order to be ready to have your return completed by us.  In the sections below we review areas related to the ACA that you need to be aware of before having us assist you.

Information Reporting

The Affordable Care Act introduces three new forms that many of you received in 2014, and all of you will receive in 2015.  The “1095” is distributed by the Marketplace (Exchanges), health insurance companies, and large employers.  These documents are required for the first group in 2014, and optional for the other two.  The form will look similar to this:

1095A

 

The 1095 is used to provide health insurance reporting to the federal government.  It lists each person who has received coverage. It details the months health insurance was in force, and the financial benefit of the policy (or credit).  You should expect to receive 1095s from the Marketplace in late January, and from other entities later in the tax season.  Unfortunately we expect there will be a lot of variance on when these forms arrive.

It’s very important to understand that you and your family members could receive multiple different forms.  Please keep all of these documents and bring them to our office when you meet with your tax advisor. Call us today to answer any questions, Call 909-570-1103

Covered California Deadline has been extended…

California’s health insurance exchange extended its deadline for consumers who want Obamacare coverage in effect beginning Jan. 1.

Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said people who start the application process or made some “good faith effort” by Monday will have until Dec. 21 to finish signing up. Monday at midnight was the original deadline.

“We are providing this window to get people across the finish line,” Lee said at an exchange board meeting Monday. “We know many of the people applying have never had insurance before, and these are individuals who need to sit down and talk with someone.”

Lee said many insurance agents and enrollment counselors were fully booked with applicants Monday. He said the deadline extension will enable consumers to get help or make an appointment through Dec. 21.

Give me a call today 909-570-1103 or email me at Carlos @HealthCareTaxAdvisor.com

Large Employers Shifting Healthcare Costs to Employees

There have been many people that have told me, “…I am not affected by Affordable Care Act(Obamcare), because I have health insurance from my job.”

However, the trend we are starting to see is that large employers are shifting Healthcare coast to employees. This will start becoming more poplar as large employees start to see how to reduce their cost. Here is great story by Abbey Rosenberg.

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Lately, there has been a trend among large employers who have reported considering shifting employees to private exchanges as a cost-mitigation strategy. However, preliminary results from a survey conducted by the National Business Coalition on Health and Benz Communications revealed that a majority of large employers surveyed rejected this idea. This article contains an overview of the preliminary results from the Inside Benefits Communication Survey.

Background on the Inside Benefits Communication Survey

The 2014 Inside Benefits Communication Survey was conducted by the National Business Coalition on Health and Benz Communications. The goal was to learn more about how companies are strategizing their benefits to comply withAffordable Care Act (ACA) compliance issues.

The survey polled 333 human resources and healthcare benefits professionals about their communications approaches, strategies, and results. While the survey spanned across the nation in a variety of industries, there were a significant number of respondents in the technology and service industries. In addition, respondents were located mainly in the Southeast and West regions of the United States.

Employers Are Not Looking to Private Exchanges

The preliminary results from the survey revealed that employers are rejecting the notion of moving their employees to a private exchange as a cost-mitigation strategy. Although this trend has been expressed in similar industry polls, 55 percent of the respondents reported that they will not stop sponsoring employee health insurance to sponsor coverage through a private exchange.

Other large employers did report interest in shifting employees to a private exchange:

  • Almost one-third (32 percent) of employers are considering moving to a private exchange within the next three to five years
  • Eight percent are planning a move to a private exchange within the next year
  • Five percent already use a private exchange to provide employee health benefits

Some Employers to Increase Employee Contributions

HR/benefits professionals were asked about whether they will maintain current benefit plans and coverage levels and whether costs would shift to employees. The results were that:

  • 40 percent will maintain current coverage levels without increasing employee costs
  • 32 percent will maintain current benefit and coverage levels, but will increase employee costs

Respondents were asked how their company will prepare to comply with the ACA “Cadillac tax” in 2018. The Cadillac tax is an excise tax on high cost health insurance plans offered by employers The results were as follows:

  • 26 percent plan to maintain current benefit plans and coverage levels without increasing employee costs
  • Almost 20 percent plan to maintain benefit levels, but will increase employee costs
  • 15 percent will reduce plan benefit and coverage levels while still increasing employee costs

Read the Inside Benefits Communication Survey from the National Business Coalition on Health and Benz Communications.

This Years Open Enrollement is Nov 15. 2015

The first big change that you may or may not be aware of is that the open enrollment date is much later this year than it was last year. If you recall, Oct. 1 was the first day you could enroll for 2014.

This year Nov. 15 will be the official kickoff for 2015 enrollment. 

This is 6 weeks later than last year!

In other words, you only have three months to enroll in 2015!