5 Ways The Affordable Care Act Affects Your Wallet

5 Ways the Affordable Care Act Affects Your Wallet

BE_healthcare costs
stethoscope wrapped around paper money

While the web and the world are all abuzz about the historical ruling the Supreme Court handed down today in support of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, you might be wondering exactly how it affects you and your money.  Well, the full Affordable Care Act document (hundreds of pages) is here, but we’ll sift through the dense text and outline five key points:

1. Non-compliance penalty. Most Americans will be required to obtain qualifying health coverage by 2014 or face a penalty.  The charge will gradually rise over a three-year period. In 2014, the cost will be $285 per family or 1% of household income (whichever is greater). Individual adults will pay $95. The following year, in 2015, the fee will be $975 per family or 2% of household income (whichever is greater). Individual adults will pay $325. By 2016, the cost will rise to $2,085 or 2.5% of household income (whichever is greater).  Individual adults will pay $695. The penalty must be paid to the IRS along with your taxes.

2. Health insurance tax credits. Starting January 2014, if your household income is less than $88,000 for a family of four, and your job doesn’t provide coverage you can afford, you are eligible to receive tax credits to assist you with paying for insurance. An advance payment can be made to your insurance company to help cover the cost of premiums.

3. Health insurance exchange program. Starting January 2014, if your employer does not offer health insurance, you can buy it directly from an Affordable Insurance Exchange. Both small businesses and individuals will be able to participate in this new insurance marketplace. The exchange allows consumers to enroll in a private or public health insurance plan, compare insurance benefit packages to get the best deal, and determine eligibility for tax credits.

4. Increased income tax for high earners. Starting January 2013, if you’re a very high earner you might be hit with higher income taxes. There will be a 3.8% surtax on investment income earned in households earning $200,000 or more for individuals and $250,000 or more for couples.

5. Home sales tax. In addition, if capital gains on the sale of one’s primary home is more than $250,000 for an individual or $500,000 for a couple, and income requirements are met,  the realized gain will be taxed at 3.8%. The rise in fees will help with paying for the cost of healthcare.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, log on to HealthCare.gov.