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 get health insurance in 2014, you may have to pay a tax penalty. How much is the penalty for not having insurance in 2014? If you don’t get health insurance in 2014, you may have to pay a tax penalty. In 2014, the penalty is calculated at $95 per uninsured person in your family, or 1 percent of your total household income – whichever is greater. The IRS can take that money out of your refund when you file your taxes next year. If you don’t get a refund, the penalty could increase the amount of taxes you owe. 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? The ACA offer tax credits to qualifying households. You can use those tax credits to help pay your insurance premiums. But you can only use your credit to buy coverage on the health insurance marketplace. In some cases, the tax credit may be big enough to make your coverage free. In some states, the ACA also allows for “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. 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 are new tax credits to help you pay for insurance, if you qualify. Some taxpayers may even qualify for free health insurance. If you need insurance, your eligibility depends on things like where you live, how much money you make, and how many people are in your family. 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 there is a new standard for the kinds of health care that insurance plans have to pay for. Starting in January, most plans for individuals and families will offer comprehensive benefits with a lot less fine print. What can Jackson Hewitt do for me? When you file your taxes at Jackson Hewitt we will help you figure out if you’re eligible for a tax credit that you can use to buy health insurance. We can also help get you signed up for free coverage through your state’s Medicaid program, if you qualify. If you have kids, they may also qualify for free coverage. 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 is starting new tax programs to help you access free or low-cost health insurance. If you don’t have insurance you may be able to get coverage in those programs. Eligibility depends on how much money you make and how many people you have in your family. How can Jackson Hewitt help? When you file your taxes with Jackson Hewitt… We’ll simplify the process. We’ll do the government paperwork so you don’t have to. 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. Will I qualify for insurance? Eligibility depends on how much money you make and how many people you have in your family. All you have to do is file your taxes with us. Then we can walk you through a few extra questions to see what you are eligible for. Just stop by your local Jackson Hewitt office in January when you are ready to file your taxes and we’ll get you started. When do I need to sign up? To be sure you don’t have to pay a penalty for not having health insurance, you need to be signed up and pay your premium by about Valentine’s Day (2014). We would be happy to help you figure out what you qualify for and help you enroll through our partner, Getinsured.com. Just stop by your local Jackson Hewitt office in January when you are ready to file your taxes and we’ll get you started. Remember that in order to get a tax credit, you have to apply before the end of March. But there is no limit to when you can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That 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. Is assistance available at Jackson Hewitt in my state? If you live in any of the U.S. states, including Washington, D.C., you can come to your local Jackson Hewitt office in January when you file your taxes. We will help find out if you are eligible for a tax credit or free coverage. Just like with taxes, lots of states have their own rules, processes, and forms – and our system keeps all of this straight so that you don’t have to. What if I don’t live in a state (e.g. Puerto Rico)? We cannot provide ACA assistance to residents of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Territories. This is because the ACA programs are generally not available in those places now. When will Jackson Hewitt be able to start helping people enroll? Most Jackson Hewitt locations can help you figure out if you qualify for a tax credit or free health coverage through Medicaid starting on Monday, January 6, 2014. 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? If you get insurance through your job, you probably won’t qualify for tax credit under the ACA. But you might qualify for Medicaid or other programs. Also your family might still qualify for something. This will depend on how much money you make and some other factors. We can help you figure that out when you come in to file your taxes. How much will insurance cost? Insurance coverage may be free for some eligible customers. For other customers the cost of your insurance will depend on your age, where you live, and if you smoke or not. Remember that you may qualify for a big tax credit to help pay for that insurance. That’s why it makes sense to come to Jackson Hewitt to get signed up when you file your taxes. Sometimes the tax credit may be enough to make your health insurance coverage completely free.