About 6.6 million U.S. taxpayers paid a penalty imposed for the first time this year for not having health insurance, about 10 percent more than the Obama administration had estimated — though a portion didn’t need to.
The penalty of as much as 1 percent of income was implemented under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and was meant to encourage people to sign up for health insurance. The Treasury Department had said in January that as many as 6 million taxpayers would pay the fine.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), became law in 2010. It was designed to slow rapidly rising health care costs and to provide affordable health insurance to every legal resident in the United States.
Health Savings Accounts make a lot of sense–at least, on paper.
For account holders, they provide a triple tax advantage. Money set aside, earned or withdrawn from the accounts to pay for medical expenses is all held out of Uncle Sam’s reach. Also, any untapped money can be used to supplement retirement savings and pay Medicare costs after age 65. Plus, there is the added benefit that the accounts encourage consumers to sift through their health care options for the most cost-effective options, since any savings go directly to their bottom lines.
A coalition of K Street health giants are teaming up to fight the ObamaCare tax on high-cost insurance plans known as the “Cadillac tax.”
The newly launched campaign, called the Alliance to Fight the Forty, includes more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies, insurance plans and unions including Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Laborers International Union.
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make insurance, well, more affordable. But now hard results are starting to emerge: premium surges that often average 10% to 20% and spikes that sometimes run as high as 50% or 60% or more from coast to coast. Welcome to the new abnormal of ObamaCare.
Consumers with health insurance shouldered more of the expense for their medical care in 2014, but Florida and nearly every other state did little to require that prices for hospitals and doctors be made public — hindering comparison shopping and allowing dominant hospital systems and insurers to drive up costs overall, according to a report released Wednesday.
Florida was among 45 states that received a failing grade for neglecting to adopt laws that give patients the data they need to plan for their healthcare expenses, according to the report produced by two nonprofit groups, Catalyst for Payment Reform in California and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute in Connecticut.
By upholding the legality of insurance subsidies on the federal exchange, the Supreme Court secured President Obama’s legacy of expanding access to health care. Now Mr. Obama must secure the other fundamental legacy of the Affordable Care Act: controlling health-care costs.
Over the holiday weekend, The New York Times published a lengthy piece confirming and adding to what has been increasingly clear for months: All over the nation, health plans being offered through Obamacare’s exchanges are requesting sizable rate hikes. In particular, popular plans that had attracted large customer bases by offering relatively low rates seem to be pushing for big increases next year, based on filings so far.
Why is Obamacare still so unpopular? Why aren’t the working class and middle-class signing up for it? Why is the Obamacare population sicker and causing so many big rate increases a year earlier than expected? Is Obamacare financially sustainable in its present form? Is it politically sustainable as it is?
The long battle over ObamaCare’s subsidies that culminated at the Supreme Court last week has overshadowed a consequential shift in health insurance: toward high-deductible plans that will help put market forces back into medicine.