The Affordable Care Act is not directly related to consumer credit. However, it is expected that, by making coverage mandatory and affordable, it will enable many consumers to avert credit destruction and financial devastation because of crippling medical bills.
Ancient medical bills in the United States have been a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Doctors and Hospital bills that go unpaid lead to collections accounts and poor scoring on the consumer’s credit file. The current FICO scoring model places less weight on unpaid medical bills compared with non-medical collection accounts. However, the impact is only reduced, not eliminated.
Unpaid health insurance premiums are not flipped over to collections agencies. Nonetheless, failure to pay might result in lost coverage. This means medical care attained after the drop date is absolutely the patient’s financial responsibility. As a result, unpaid bills for care received after loss of coverage can then cause collections. People who purchase insurance via the exchange and receive advanced tax credits towards the premiums have a ninety-day grace period to bring a late account up-to-date.
Will avoiding health insurance hurt your credit?
If I do not obtain ACA, will it hurt my credit?
Even with all the benefits, the ACA can cause adverse financial events that affect your credit report. The fact that the Affordable Care Act is not a credit element does not preclude financial and credit consequences.
With a few exceptions, the federal government will penalize anyone who decides not to obtain coverage. The 2014 penalty is one percent of household income or ninety-five per adult. While that of 2015 is 2% of household income or $325 per adult and &162.50 per child, whichever is higher. The penalty increases yearly and is adjusted for inflation.
Some households are exempted from the penalty, mostly because of income or tax status (not employment status). Some citizens are eligible for an exemption based on religious affiliation, tribal status, or incarceration.
To avoid paying the penalty:
- Purchase, or
- Get an exemption
- Make a shared responsibility payment
Every person who purchases coverage on the healthcare exchange reports his or her expected income for the coming year. Tax subsidies and premiums are based on income reported. The subsidy is subjected to retroactive changes based on the real income that appears on the taxpayer’s return the following year.
A Taxpayer who underestimates income might get a subsidy that is too large and should be repaid. The IRS follows tax debts aggressively, and a subsidy overage may be categorized as past because of tax obligations. In that situation, expect the IRS to file a tax lien. As a public report, a tax lien will possibly be viewed as a negative element of the credit reporting agencies.
To avoid a tax lien, immediately pay the shortfall or configure payment plan. Also, comply with your tax obligations to avoid adverse action by the IRS.
What is the Affordable Care Act, and how does it work?
Affordable Care Act Explained
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare, aims to offer more Americans with health insurance, in section by sharing the cost for those who could not otherwise afford coverage. The law develops new patient rights, benefits, responsibilities and protections, and a marketplace where we can compare and select health insurance. The premiums are subsidized on a sliding scale, based on household size and income.
According to new research posted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, signing up for health insurance coverage might not only protect you from financial disasters, like an unexpected visit to the emergency room but may also boost your long-term credit history.
A significant benefit of health insurance coverage is that it shields the insured from unexpected medical costs that might devastate their personal finances. Moreover, the study discovered, signing up for health insurance decreases the possibility that you will fall victim to smaller credit issues that can have a long-term outcome for your financial health- like falling behind on a loan remittance or racking up medical debt on a credit card.
What the Affordable Care Act does not do?
The applications for health insurance are not subject to a hard credit inquiry or any other type of credit review. Personal information offered during the initial processing is utilized for identity verification. Credit standing lacks bearing on consumer’s ability to buy insurance on the exchange.
When it comes to premiums, they are not based on the consumer’s credit score. Credit standing has no impact on the price paid for any plan bought through the exchange. Premium subsidies, when provided on income alone.
What are the financial benefits of the Affordable Care Act?
Public policies that promote health insurance do have pronounced effects on financial stability and well-being.
ACA comes with the following financial benefits:
- Higher average credit scores. The new research posted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows that consumers of Massachusetts experienced slightly higher credit scores after the act was implemented.
- Smaller overdue debt. People also carried less overdue debt after the law was implemented. Moreover, the percentage of overdue debt consumers carried, compared to their total credit balances, even reduced.
- Less missed payments. Collections accounts on loans higher than $5,000 also became less frequent. The act did not appear to have an impact on small-dollar collections accounts, however.
- Fewer bankruptcies. Besides, people became much less likely to declare bankruptcy after the act was passed.
How does Obamacare affect everyone?
Affordable Care Act Quick Summary And Its Impact On You
Below is a quick overview of how Obamacare impacts you, based o9n your situation.
If you already have health insurance
The act allows you to keep your existing insurance. It is an individual plan you purchased yourself. You can also keep an employer plan. That incorporates plans you received via the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. You can also retain a retiree plan, Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE, Peace Corps Volunteer plans, and other veterans’ health care programs.
Even though you already had insurance, Obamacare promoted the benefits you received in the following ways:
- It enabled you to include your children up to age twenty-six to your health insurance program.
- You do not have to co-pay for wellness or pregnancy exams.
- In case you fall unwell, your insurance company can no longer drop you even though you made an error on your health insurance application.
- In case you have a pre-existing condition, you no longer have to worry about losing coverage if you change your insurance.
- The act cannot limit the coverage you get over your lifetime.
- Insurance companies should submit justification to the states for all rate hikes. Obamacare offers funding to the states for administering this.
- If you have received a rebate from your insurance company, ACA requires that they spend at least eighty percent of premium payments on medical services rather than on advertising and executive salaries. If they cannot, the money will go back to you.
Most people were concerned that their organization would cancel their health insurance and force them onto Obamacare. This occurred to at least one million employees. They discovered their insurance company no longer wanted to offer non-compliant plans. Others worked for organizations that found it more cost-effective to pay the penalty. These organizations knew their staff could get coverage on the health insurance exchanges.
It did not occur to most people since companies provide health insurance as a benefit to attract good employees. It is cheaper for them than higher wages. The IRS does not need them to pay payroll taxes on benefits.
By enabling parents to include their children, more healthy people are paying premiums without using the system. That increases health insurance organizations’ profits. The same way, Medicare recipients now have more of their prescription costs covered. This enables them to keep on taking medications required to prevent emergency room visits.
If you lack health insurance
Till 2019, you were needed to have insurance for at least nine months out of one year. Congress members were also mandated to get their health insurance via the same exchanges rather than of the government-offered health insurance they previously attained. They get a $4, 500 subsidies for individuals or $10 00o for family coverage to help pay the cost.
The exchanges enable you to compare health programs before you purchase one. The exchanges also assist you in finding out if you qualify for subsidies or free health care via Medicaid. States are provided substantial federal grants to fund the exchanges and expand Medicaid. In spite of all this incentive, not all of them signed up.
In case you cannot afford health insurance
You qualify for Medicaid if your income is 138% or less of the federal poverty level. The federal government financed Medicaid expansion 100% via 2017 and ninety percent after that.
In case you do not qualify for Medicaid, you might still be eligible for a subsidy. You will qualify in case your income is under 400% of the poverty level. Rather than waiting for your annual tax rebate, you can get tax credit every month. You might also qualify for decreased copayments and deductibles.
You can also qualify for an exemption from the tax in case your income is too low, your state has not expanded Medicaid, or you are in a challenging situation.
How Obamacare affects you if you are on Medicare?
You can receive many wellness and preventive care visits for free. Medicare preventive services offer a full list of what Medicare covers. In case you have Medicare section D, Obamacare assists you pay for your prescription drugs in case you fell into the doughnut role.
How ACAs affect you if you are a small business owner?
You can get a tax credit of fifty percent of the costs of health insurance bought on the Small Business Health Options Services Marketplace if you have 25 employees or less. Non-profits receive a thirty-five percent credit.
In case you have less than fifty employees, you do not have to pay a fine in case your workers get tax credits via an exchange. For fifty or more employees, you must offer health insurance or pay a tax of $2,000 for every staff member. This covers all but the first thirty employees.
When it comes to less than 100 employees, you can shop for insurance on the exchanges that should offer cheaper alternatives than what is accessible now. In case you offer health insurance as a benefit to early retirees, aged 64 to 55 years old, you can get federal financial aid.