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Health care reform requires almost all Americans to have qualifying health coverage (QHC) that offers minimal essential coverage (MEC), or pay a penalty. Wondering what this means for you? Take a look at these straightforward answers to frequently asked questions about the requirements and penalties:
Health plans that qualify include: individual major medical coverage, most job-based major medical coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), TRICARE and certain other coverage.
Should you decide not to purchase minimum essential coverage, you may be responsible for a tax penalty known as a shared-responsibility payment. The tax penalty will either be a set dollar amount or the percentage of household income, whichever is greater. The fine is capped at the cost of the national average of a bronze-level health insurance plan. See the chart below for details.
The penalty is calculated on a monthly basis, so the fine will be 1/12 of the annual fine for each month an individual or family is uninsured.
If the lowest available eligible plan costs more than 8 percent of your income, you may not be penalized for not purchasing health insurance. Other exemptions to the penalty include American Indian ethnicity, undocumented immigrant status, religious objection, financial hardship, and being without coverage for less than three months or being incarcerated.
In certain instances, you may be able to receive premium tax credits to help offset the costs of health insurance coverage through the federal or state health insurance marketplace where you live. You may be able to take advantage of government support if you meet the following requirements:
To learn more about health care reform, visit: healthcare.gov/, irs.gov/uac/ACA-Individual-Shared-Responsibility-Provision-Calculating-the-Payment and aflac.com/health-care-reform.
This material is intended to provide general information about an evolving topic and does not constitute legal, tax or accounting advice regarding any specific situation. Aflac cannot anticipate all the facts that a particular employer or individual will have to consider in their benefits decision-making process. We strongly encourage readers to discuss their HCR situations with their advisors to determine the actions they need to take or to visit healthcare.gov (which may also be contacted at 800-318-2596) for additional information.
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.