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Obama's Health Care Plan and Tax Deductions

  Sanjiv Gupta CPA  Published 
Obama's Health Care Plan and Tax Deductions

As many of you may know that starting 2014 Obama’s healthcare plan will kick in that may allow low-income families to enroll in a qualified health care plan and claim the insurance premium as a tax credit.  However, some of us are still wondering what if a qualified health plan offered by Obama's health care plan is cheaper than the one offered by our employer.    Can we switch to a different plan?  If we make the switch, can we still deduct premium?

Answers to these questions are equally important to the employers.   Employers would like to predict their exposure to the employer responsibility excise imposed should if they offer the healthcare that does not provide minimum value (What is the minimum value?), or is unaffordable.   After all, employers want to know if they should continue with their health plans or not?

“Have IRS not finalized the rules?” you may ask.  You can read T.D. 9590 published by the IRS and Treasury Department.  You will find many rules to determine eligibility for and calculation of the tax Code section 36B refundable health insurance premium tax credit added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended.   These rules address many matter e.g treatment of required waiting periods or relief from erroneous automatic enrollment in an employer-sponsored plan.  But at the same time, they leave many issues for future guidance and public interpretation.

For example, Employers can find out when employer plan coverage is affordable for the employee by using a simple formula (i.e., the employee’s contribution is no more than 9.5% of household income) but do not address whether coverage is affordable for related individuals who can enroll in the employer plan.

Many groups are working closely with IRS and Obama’s administration to finalize the rules and calculation methods to determine how much premium should be deductible.  Taxpayers are also being invited by the IRS to comment on these matters.

Would you like to share your thoughts on this matter?