KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Tax Time Crunch: Health Law Penalties Catching Up To Many Taxpayers

H&R Block reports that among its customers, 60 percent of filers who were getting tax credits to help pay their health insurance premiums in 2015 end up owing money back to the government and the average fine for people who didn't buy insurance is doubling.

The Wall Street Journal: Repayment Of Health-Insurance Tax Credits Threatens Refunds
Most people who got tax credits to buy insurance under the federal health law will be repaying part of them for the second year in a row, according to a leading tax preparer. H&R Block Inc. executives said Tuesday that, to date, 60% of 2015 tax filers with the credit have found that they owe the government money because they had been credited too much. That is up from 52% last year, the first year in which filers had to reckon with reporting the credit and figuring out if their income projections had been accurate. (Radnofsky, 3/8)

The Associated Press: Health Law Fines Double For Many Uninsured At Tax Time
Many people who went without health insurance last year are now seeing fines more than double under President Barack Obama's health care law, tax preparation company H&R Block said Tuesday. Among its customers who owe a penalty for the 2015 tax year, the average fine is $383, compared with $172 for 2014, the company said. Separately, among those who complied with the law and took advantage of its taxpayer-subsidized private health insurance, 6 in 10 are now having to pay back to the IRS some portion of their financial assistance. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/8)

The Detroit Free Press: Upfront Affordable Care Act Credit Hits Some Tax Refunds
Tax filers who obtained money-saving tax credits upfront to buy health insurance are now finding they have to pay back an average $579 this tax season, according to data from H&R Block. ... At the same time, more than one in three taxpayers who claimed the Advance Premium Tax Credit actually overestimated their income and ended up qualifying for a bigger credit. This group is receiving an additional refund — more than $450 on average. (Tompor, 3/8)

The Chicago Tribune: Will You Have To Pay An Obamacare Tax Penalty?
If you bought health insurance last year through Obamacare, you may be pleasantly surprised at tax time to find out you have money coming to you. But it's just as likely the surprise will go the other way: You might owe Uncle Sam some money if the government subsidy you received for buying insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace was too large based on your income. And if you skipped buying health insurance entirely, you probably will face a penalty. On average, those penalties this year are running $383 among H&R Block customers. That's an increase from $172 a year ago. (MarksJarvis, 3/8)

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