What is the Affordable Health Care Act?

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The New Health Care reform bill has been given many names: Health Care reform act, Affordable Care Act and Obamacare.

Whatever you may call it, one thing is for sure, many Americans have questions regarding the Affordable Health Care Act. Many questions revolve around the Health Care tax penalty implications that are set to take place in 2014. Before we get into the details on the tax penalty implications, let’s take a look at the law.

The Affordable Health Care Act’s aim is to provide affordable health care to all Americans and reduce the overall cost of health care. The new law expands coverage to 32 million people through a combination of public and private sector health insurance expansions. The law was enacted on March 23, 2010 and is being phased in over 4 years.

The Affordable Health Care Act requires health insurance companies to cover all applicants and offer the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex. The Affordable Health Care Act provides a number of methods to employers and individuals to increase the coverage rate and health insurance affordability that includes mandates, subsidies, and tax credits.

Shortly after being signed into law in 2010, many Americans started taking
advantage of many of the law’s provisions which included:

  • Help for uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions through risk pools
  • Help for retirees
  • Small business tax credits
  • Medicare Part D donut hole rebate checks (Coverage Gap)
  • Children up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s insurance
  • Lifetime limits on coverage are banned
  • Rescissions of coverage when the covered individual gets ill are banned
  • No discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions
  • Annual limits on insurance coverage are regulated
  • No cost sharing for preventive care
  • Appeals processes are guaranteed
  • Choice of primary care provider is guaranteed
  • Direct access for OB/GYN Services is guaranteed
  • Discrimination based on salary is banned

Under the Health Care law all Americans must have minimum essential health insurance coverage by Jan. 1, 2014. You have minimum essential health coverage if you have a:

American’s do have a choice of how they get their coverage.
People can choose to buy health insurance on or off state insurance exchanges. Open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013 and on January 1, 2014 the requirement for every American citizen to have health care starts.

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Form 1040EZ is the simplest form to fill out.
You may use Form 1040EZ if you meet all the following conditions:

If you file Form 1040EZ, you cannot itemize deductions or claim any adjustments to income or tax credits (other than the earned income credit).