Trump Administration Makes It Easier to Avoid Obamacare Tax Penalty

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced on Wednesday a new opportunity for those who failed to have health insurance in 2018 to avoid a hit on their taxes.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the so-called individual mandate required nearly all Americans to have some form of health insurance coverage or face a tax penalty. Traditionally, individuals were eligible for a hardship exemption from the penalty only under certain circumstances, such as homelessness, domestic violence, or natural disasters. Documentation needed to be submitted to qualify for the exemption.

The new policy allows hardship exemptions to be claimed for more general financial burdens and also eliminates the need to provide “the documentary evidence or written explanation generally required,” the CMS said in a statement… Read More at CNBC

CBO Lowers Estimate of Number of Uninsured Due to Republican Tax Law

The government’s scorekeeping agencies revised their controversial estimate for how many more people would be uninsured as a result of changes Republicans and the Trump administration made to Obamacare.

The latest estimates project that zeroing out Obamacare’s fine for going uninsured alone will result in roughly 8.6 million more people becoming uninsured by 2027 than if the fine had been kept in place, compared to the 13 million figure the agencies had released several months ago. Read More at the Washington Examiner

Obamacare Premiums to Rise an Average of 15% Next Year, Says CBO

Obamacare rates are going up next year.

The premium for the benchmark Obamacare silver plan is projected to jump an average of 15% next year, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released Wednesday.

The increase is being driven in large part because people will no longer be penalized for not having insurance, as of 2019. Congress eliminated the penalty associated with Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of its tax reform package last year.

This change alone will cause premiums to be 10% higher because fewer healthy people will buy coverage, leaving insurers with a sicker and costlier group of policyholders, the CBO projected. Read More at CNN.

How the GOP Tax Bill Will Ruin Obamacare

As part of their giant tax bill, Republicans in Congress are about to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. Their objective is not sensible health care reform but rather insensible arithmetic that could satisfy the byzantine rules governing the Senate’s reconciliation process.

The purpose of the mandate is to evenly distribute risk among healthy and unhealthy Americans on the individual insurance market so that costs are shared and no one is left out.

Will killing the mandate ruin Obamacare exchanges? No, but it will transform them into an extended form of Medicaid by another name. Americans with subsidized policies will stay in the system, with help from the federal government.

Unsubsidized individuals, however, will be driven out of the market, because a repeal of the mandate will cause premiums on exchange plans to skyrocket as healthy people exit.

Read more at The New York Times

Psst! Obamacare Mandate Delayed Again — Quietly

Another Obamacare delay has taken effect, without much fanfare. The administration has quietly announced that it was delaying through October 2016 the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate for millions of Americans who have lost their healthcare coverage.

The latest change was buried in an announcement that Americans would be able to keep health plans that do not meet Obamacare standards for another two years, Fox News reports. Political consultant Dick Morris says the effect of this announcement with all the other Obamacare delays means that the act has now effectively been repealed.

Read More at Newsmax

White House Extends ‘Individual Mandate’ Deadline

Because of website glitches, individuals buying health insurance through government-run websites now have an extra six weeks – until the end of March 2014 – to enroll in a plan without a penalty.

The open enrollment period for “Obamacare” extends from Oct. 1 to March 31, 2014. If an individual is not covered for three months or longer, he or she will face a financial penalty for not having insurance. In order for the insurance to take effect, uninsured Americans would have to sign up by Feb. 15, 2014 to avoid the fines.

Read More at Newsmax