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What does Affordable Care Act mean to you?

ACA Minimum Essential Coverage Verification: $5.

Most taxpayers simply checked a box on their tax return to indicate that they had qualifying health care coverage for the entire year. Some taxpayers, like me, noticed a five dollar fee from their tax preparer for checking that box.

But how many taxpayers actually know what this box means? As an employer, Michels knows what the Affordable Care Act means to us. We have been preparing for it for several years. However, I’m not quite certain employees truly understand what the law means for them as individuals.

Those who have been utilizing the federal or state health care exchanges may have more insight than others. But what about those who continue about their daily lives, with health care coverage through their employer? They go through the motions, returning open enrollment paperwork, utilizing the coverage throughout the year.

Plain and simple: It is federal law that U.S. citizens maintain health coverage. If you don’t, you’ll be taxed. Many employees at Michels do not give their health care coverage a second thought, but what happens when you experience a change in jobs and become a new employee with a gap in coverage? Then questions begin to flow. The Human Resources Department can continue to be your resource, however, it is important to understand what the law means for you on an individual basis should certain life events occur.

Your 2015 tax return may bring about even more questions. You may receive a “health W2” in future tax years. The health W2 will be filed with your taxes, just like the W2 for your earnings. Essentially, this is how the government will begin analyzing who has coverage, and who does not - and who will get taxed.

A large reason why many of you are working is to obtain benefits through your employer. The government may be involved in many aspects, so it is important to understand your obligations as a taxpayer … and why you’ve received a $5 charge from your tax preparer for checking a box for you.

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