Laura Hanlon, CPA, president of Hanlon & Associates CPA, often responds to young people who say they can’t afford health insurance with the question “how can you afford not to have insurance?” she said.
As a student athlete, Hanlon has always been in good shape, but at the age of 32 she experienced a bad snow skiing accident that has caused her to see a physical therapist for the past four years.
“I have a personal viewpoint on this that not a lot of young people have,” she said.
Hanlon attended a seminar in the fall that explored how the new healthcare laws will change the way people do taxes.
“Healthcare and taxes are now completely connected,” she said. “They are joined at the hip, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that because the affect hasn’t hit them full force yet.”
The seminar inspired Hanlon to write a short, easy to read book explaining how the new healthcare laws are related to taxes titled “Obamacare and the IRS Uncovered: What You Must Know About the Affordable Care Act Before Filing Your Tax Return.”
The book consists of general information about the Affordable Care Act including an overview, timeline of implementation, tax law changes and compliance.
Hanlon said some common misconceptions about the new healthcare law include its very name.
“If there’s any confusion, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing,” she said.
Another misunderstanding is that the new law will only affect people who are uninsured.
“A lot of people don’t think it affects everyone,” she said. “People need to understand it’s new, it’s complex and it’s connected to taxes.”
The IRS has been charged with making sure everyone complies with the law.
Starting next year, people will have to fill out a form with their income tax return filings that will show the status of their health insurance coverage.
The individual mandate in effect as of Jan. 1, 2014, says individuals must have qualifying health insurance for at least nine out of the 12 months of the year or pay a penalty fee. The deadline to obtain health insurance is March 31.
Hanlon said no one should try to apply for health insurance March 30 expecting to be covered by March 31.
“It doesn’t process that quickly, so Valentine’s Day is a good deadline to keep in mind as it takes about six weeks to get health insurance,” she said.
The book goes through the history of the ACA beginning in 2010, and explains the Marketplace, Federal Mandate and Premium Tax Credit using several examples.
“I tried to make it easy to read with big print and short chapters,” Hanlon said.
The book also has a section of credible sources where readers can access more information including links to the websites of various government and private organizations related to the ACA including the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Hanlon said if someone wanted to be up to date on the ACA, she’d recommend regularly visiting the Kaiser Family Foundation website because it is a nonprofit, nonpartisan private operating foundation.
A glossary of health insurance related terms is featured in the back of the book.
Call or visit the Hanlon & Associates CPA office to purchase a copy, or visit conwaycpa.com to order a copy online. Links to subscribe to newsletters and email lists can also be found on the site.
The books sell for a retail price of $20, but Hanlon & Associates CPA is offering the book to the public for $15. A coupon for $20 off any tax service at Hanlon & Associates CPA comes with the purchase of the book.
“Going it alone or with TurboTax may not be the best solution anymore,” Hanlon said.