This Affordable Care Act represents sweeping changes for how the middle class will get insurance. Whether or not you qualify for premium subsidies, also called “Advanced Tax Credits”, becomes a primary concern for consumers looking for a way to afford mandatory health insurance.
Your 2012 tax return is key to determining if you’re eligible for any financial assistance. Using the information from his 2012 return, a tax advisor at H&R Block advised his client that she would qualify for a significant tax credit and would have to pay pay only about $65 a month in for health insurance after the subsidy. If she skips coverage, H&R Block warned her, she faces a $95 tax penalty next year and $356 the following year.
For customers who want help with getting health insurance, H&R Block refers them to insurers affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assn., an industry group that represents both Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California in the state. That partnership stands to give those insurers valuable leads on potential customers.
Although the Blue Cross and Blue Shield logos are present, there is no mention inside H&R Block’s offices of Covered California, the new California health insurance marketplace.
This could be the first evidence of the competition that is likely to develop between health insurance carriers and the exchange. On the one hand carriers are motivated to “partner with the exchanges in a marriage of necessity and on the other hand do what they can to retain or gain market share.
Covered California, is planning to spend about $250 million on marketing statewide to establish its brand name and make it a prime destination for consumer information. Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said he welcomes the information H&R Block is providing before the state’s marketing ramps up this summer closer to when enrollment begins. “We will be exploring relationships with tax preparers because they offer a great way to provide one-on-one assistance,” Lee said. “But we don’t want to be too far ahead of when people can enroll.”