Donald Trump doesn't move into the Oval Office for 15 more days, but the Republican-control Congress is working on legislation for him to sign into law shortly after he settles into his new digs.
One of the president-elect's campaign promises was to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known (for a while longer) as Obamacare. That won't be easy, either politically and pragmatically.
Delayed repeal effect: It took President Obama two years to get the measure through the House and Senate, which at that time had Democratic majorities. It could be that long before the GOP goal of getting rid of Obamacare is real.
Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) acknowledged the delay in a conversation Jan. 4 with Joe Kernan on CNBC's Squawk Box.
"We're going to have to grandfather current plans in for probably two years," Collins said. "There's a lag time between when an insurance company can introduce a plan into a state, get it approved and roll it out."
So while the process to dismantle Obamacare is underway, folks who have coverage need to keep doing what they're doing for the time being.
Obamacare tax matters: That's especially true for the upcoming tax filing season.
All of us will have some ACA related tax matters to take care of in the next few months, the key one being telling the IRS on our tax returns that we had minimal essential health insurance coverage for all of 2016. The various ACA 1095 forms will help us do this.
If we didn't have acceptable coverage, we'll have to pay the tax penalty when we file those returns by April 18.
To help with that tax task, the Internal Revenue Service created the table below to show how the Affordable Care Act affects individual taxpayers.
The Affordable Care Act and Your Tax Responsibilities
|If You ...||Then You ...|
|Are a U.S. citizen or a non-U.S. citizen living in the United States||Must have qualifying health care coverage, qualify for a health coverage exemption, or make a payment when you file your income tax return.|
|Had coverage or an employer offered coverage to you in the previous year||Will receive one or more of the following forms:
|Had health coverage through an employer or under a government program – such as Medicare, Medicaid and coverage for veterans – for the entire year||Just have to check the full-year coverage box on your Form 1040 series return and do not have to read any further.|
|Did not have coverage for any month of the year||Should check the instructions to Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, to see if you are eligible for an exemption.|
|Were eligible for an exemption from coverage for a month||Must claim the exemption or report an exemption already obtained from the Marketplace by completing Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, and submitting it with your tax return.|
|Did not have coverage and were not eligible for an exemption from coverage for any month of the year||Are responsible for making an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your return.|
|Are responsible for making an individual shared responsibility payment||Will report it on your tax return and make the payment with your income taxes.|
|Need qualifying health care coverage for the current year||Can visit HealthCare.gov to find out about the dates of open and special enrollment periods for purchasing qualified health coverage.|
|Enroll in health insurance through the Marketplace for yourself or someone else on your tax return||Might be eligible for the premium tax credit.|
|Received the benefit of more advance payments of the premium tax credit than the amount of credit for which you qualify on your tax return||Will repay the amount in excess of the credit you are allowed subject to a repayment cap.|
|Did not enroll in health insurance from the Marketplace for yourself or anyone else on your tax return||Cannot claim the premium tax credit.|
|Are eligible for the premium tax credit||Can choose when you enroll in coverage to get premium assistance sent to your insurer each month to lower your monthly payments or get all the benefit of the credit when you claim it on your tax return.|
|Are claiming the premium tax credit and did not benefit from advance payments of the premium tax credit||Must file a tax return and IRS Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC) and claim the credit on the line labeled - Net premium tax credit.|
|Choose to get premium assistance when you enroll in Marketplace coverage||Will have payments sent on your behalf - to your insurance provider. These payments are called advance payments of the premium tax credit.|
|Get the benefit of advance payments of the premium tax credit and experience a significant life change, such as a change in income or marital status||Should report these changes in circumstances to your Marketplace when they happen.|
|Get the benefit of advance payments of the premium tax credit||Will report the payments on your tax return and reconcile the amount of the payments with the amount of credit for which you are eligible.|
As for health care coverage and taxes in the future, stay tuned. I'll let you know what the tax implications are as the Obamacare repeal and Republican replacement plan progress.
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