14 ways to avoid the Obamacare tax

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Article Highlights

  • There are 14 ways, in all, to avoid paying the Obamacare tax penalty

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  • You can take advantage of these off ramps [from Obamacare tax penalty] all the way till 2016, at the very least.

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  • Catchall criteria #14: You experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance.

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There are 14 ways, in all, to avoid paying the Obamacare tax penalty — the new fine for not carrying health insurance that conforms to the government regulations.

You can take advantage of these off ramps all the way till 2016, at the very least. And one of them (#14) is so broad that it could capture just about any reason you can think of for not wanting to pay the tax.

Here are the 14 “circumstances” that make you eligible for skirting the tax, and the documentation you’ll need to prove that you qualify for the waivers.

1. You were homeless. Documentation Required: None

2. You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure. Documentation Required: Copy of eviction or foreclosure notice

3. You received a shut-off notice from a utility company. Documentation Required: Copy of shut-off notice from a utility company

4. You recently experienced domestic violence. Documentation Required: None

5. You recently experienced the death of a close family member. Documentation Required: Copy of death certificate, copy of death notice from newspaper, or copy of other official notice of death

6. You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property. Documentation Required: Copy of police or fire report, insurance claim, or other document from government agency, private entity, or news source documenting event

7. You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months. Documentation Required: Copy of bankruptcy filing

8. You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months. Documentation Required: Copies of medical bills

9. You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member. Documentation Required: Copies of receipts related to care

10. You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. Documentation Required: Copy of medical support order AND copies of eligibility notices for Medicaid and CHIP showing that the child has been denied coverage

11. As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible either for: 1) enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, 2) lower costs on your monthly premiums, or 3) cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace. Documentation Required: Copy of notice of appeals decision

12. You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Documentation Required: Copy of notice of denial of eligibility for Medicaid

13. You received a notice saying that your current health insurance plan is being cancelled, and you consider the other plans available unaffordable. Documentation Required: Copy of notice of cancellation

And the catchall criteria…. 14. You experienced another hardship in obtaining health insurance. Documentation Required: “Please submit documentation if possible.”

You can follow Dr. Scott Gottlieb on Twitter @ScottGottliebMD. For more from the AEI health policy team, follow @AEIHealth.

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