One of the hardest parts about covering America’s healthcare system is that if someone comes to us with a question– even if it sounds relatively simple– there’s almost never an easy answer.
For example, wondering what the penalty for not having health insurance is in 2015? The short answer is it’s $325 per person or 2% of your household income, whichever is higher. But, if we wanted to be more accurate, the real answer is “it depends”– based on your income, family size, how many months you went without coverage, and whether you qualify for any exemptions. Or want to know whether your income is low enough to qualify for Medicaid? Well it depends on your family size and what state you live in. If your state didn’t expand Medicaid under Obamacare, it also may depend on whether you’re pregnant, disabled, a parent, etc.
You might notice that we answer questions with “it depends” a lot.
So we were somewhat shocked that we recently got a question from a reader that seemed like it would require a complicated answer (it’s about Obamacare and filing taxes), but actually did not require an “it depends”:
When you’re filing your taxes, how do you provide proof that you had insurance in 2014?
Answer: You don’t have to provide proof. If you had coverage all year, you simply check the box that says you had full year coverage (line 61 on the 1040). That’s it. Here’s what it looks like:
Unfortunately that turned into a slippery slope of other questions with “it depends” answers. What do owe if you didn’t have coverage, or only had coverage part of the year? If you bought coverage on the exchange, how do you determine whether you got the correct subsidy? If you ended up making more money than you estimated when you applied for Obamacare, how much do you have to pay back?
To help answer these questions (and others) we’ve put together a quick guide to how Obamacare works when you’re filing your taxes. [click to continue reading…]