How can victims of spousal abuse qualify for Healthcare.gov subsidy?

How can victims of domestic violence get premium tax credits on the exchange if they’re still married but don’t want to file a joint tax return with their spouse?   

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This issue, long recognized as a problem by advocates and government officials alike, has been resolved to some extent. People with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $45,960 for an individual) are eligible for premium tax credits for policies on the health insurance marketplaces. In general, however, married couples only qualify if they file their taxes jointly. For victims of domestic violence who may have moved out and fear having contact with their spouse, filing a joint return may not be a safe option.

The IRS subsequently clarified that domestic violence victims could file as a head of household and be eligible for the tax credits. But that designation requires a taxpayer to have paid at least half the cost of keeping a home for the year and had a child living at home. Childless people or those who left an abusive relationship less than a year ago don’t qualify.

Earlier this week, the IRS announced a further tweak to the rules: Married taxpayers who have been subjected to abuse can now qualify for tax credits using married filing separately tax status.

In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that married victims of abuse would get an extra two months – until May 31 – to sign up for a health plan on the federally facilitated exchange serving 36 states.

Read entire article from Kaiser Health News

10 Popular Drugs with Generics Now Available

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These drugs represent an annual spend of $22.43 Billion.  Their generics will soon be available.  See below.

Name Brand Generic Annual Sales 2014 Diagnosis Generics Available
Cymbalta duloxetine 4.7 B Depression December 2013
Liboderm libocaine patch 1.3 B Skin Sept 13
Nisapan niacin 1.2 B High Cholesterol Sept 13
AcipHex rabeprazole 901 M Ulcer November 2013
Suboxone bupreneorphoine/naloxone 697 M Pain February 2013
Nexium esomeprazole 6.1 B Ulcer May 2014
Copaxone 20mg glatiramer 3.7 B Mental May 2014
Diovan valsartan 2.1 B High Blood Pressure June 2014
Renvela sevelamer carbonate 889 M Gastro March 2014
Lunesta eszopiclone 852 M Sleep April 2014
         
Total   22.43 B    

Source:  http://ebn.benefitnews.com/gallery/ebn/10-drugs-to-watch-2740189-1.html

HHS Releases State by State Obamacare Enrollment Figures

A March 11, 2014 reports the following number of People who “Have Selected a Marketplace Plan”.  A footnote clarifies this to mean that they are people who are deemed to be eligible to purchase a plan and who have selected a plan.  However, the footnote explains “with or without payment having being received directly by the Marketplace or the insurer”

Here is the link to the HHS Report

So for all purposes, these are people similar to someone who goes to Amazon, puts a book in their shopping basket, but never pay.

Nevertheless, here are the number from 10/1/13 – 3/1/14

  • Total All Marketplaces:  4,242,325
  • Total State Marketplaces:  1,621,239
  • Total Federal Marketplaces: 2,621,086
  • Total Ohio:  78,925

The report also shows that 83% of all people who enrolled received financial subsidy.  That would mean they are below 400% of Federal Poverty.  

Related:  http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/how-much-financial-assistance-are-people-receiving-under-the-affordable-care-act/?utm_campaign=KFF%3A+General&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12327302&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_srVYaBw4Rwve-K8PSQCRHAFrFn_8FRugcS4hl7xIOclHpAzuwziottld5frJT4bcBKTNCpa23t6Fc97X1712EH9Lt7w&_hsmi=12327302

Obamacare Open Enrollment Exention Announced

After a full 6 months of open enrollment, the Obama Admin has announced that you can now request an extension.  According to multiple sources, people will have up until April 15 to goto http://www.healthcare.gov and request an extension.  The extension will allow people to not be penalized for not having coverage.  Image

From the Washington Post:
Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.

Full article here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-administration-will-allow-more-time-to-enroll-in-health-care-on-federal-marketplace/2014/03/25/d0458338-b449-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html

JOHNNY X-BOX: My 19 Year Old is Not Covered will I get an Obamacare Penalty?

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You know “Johnny X-Box”.  This is the kid who is over 18, unemployed, not in college and LIVING IN YOUR BASEMENT!  What if he does not have health insurance?  Could you get an Obamacare Penalty?

Here is the Answer:

If you claim your son as a dependent, you’ll be responsible for paying the penalty if he doesn’t have health insurance this year.The penalty is the greater of $95 for every uninsured adult in a tax household or 1 percent of your annual family income over the income threshold that requires you to file a tax return. (The threshold is $13,050 for a head of household or $20,300 for a married couple filing jointly.).

To qualify for the flat $95 fine, a family’s income would have to be quite low. For most families, the 1 percent penalty will apply, says Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. In your case, if your modified adjusted gross income is $60,000 and you file as head of household, the penalty would be $470 ($60,000 – $13,050 = $46,950 x 1 percent = $470).

“We tell people, that child could cost a lot more than a spare bedroom,” says Haile.

Source:  Kaiser Health News
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2014/March/25/Andrews-Readers-Ask-How-Do-Marketplace-Plans-Differ-From-Others.aspx?utm_campaign=KHN%3A+First+Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12302680&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–R1DQ3Gs_GCmiHWxPyke5_lJneKbtvWFkoeQv-vzcp8sF9GJrbUIvdTIv4RFmYO8hH9sHSu-_W-UkysXtZWxYmiZNuuw&_hsmi=12302680