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Affordable Care Act Toodles Along; Tax Fun About to Begin!

If we were making a list of the top ten stories that did not happen in 2014, we'd probably want to include the fact that the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act did not lead to the collapse of the Constitution and a Marxist takeover in Washington, D.C. The Affordable Care Act simply started helping a few million people pay for their health insurance while helping millions more keep insurance that, a few years ago, insurers would have eagerly taken away to protect their bottom lines.

KELO-TV reports that more than 8,800 South Dakotans have signed up so far in the second open enrollment period on, the federal health insurance exchange. That's about 1% of the state. A similar proportion of Minnesotans (59,000 as of last Friday) have signed up for insurance on MNSure, the state-run exchange.

Health and Human Services' December enrollment report shows that out of 4.38 million applicants determined to be eligible to buy insurance on the federal exchange, 3.56 million, 81%, are eligible to receive financial assistance in the form of the premium tax credit. (The percentage is about the same in South Dakota.) Most folks who carried exchange insurance this year have already received that credit—or, more accurately, their insurance companies have already received that credit. When they signed up in 2013 for coverage in 2014, exchange customers provided an estimate of their income for 2014. calculated the premium tax credit based on that estimate and, in most cases, sent that money straight to the insurance provider, allowing the customer to pay the lower premium up front. Customers could choose to pay the full premium and reclaim the premium tax credit on their 2014 tax return when they file in the next few months. But most people have already spent that credit; they'll see the number on some line of their 1040 this tax season, but they'll see it zero out, with adjustments based on any difference between the income they estimated when they bought their exchange insurance last year and what they actually earned in 2014. Tax preparers, study up!

Those millions of Americans receiving premium tax credits could get grinched by the selfish conservatives who are suing to overturn the credit for customers of the federal exchange. The Supreme Court hears King v. Burwell on March 4 and probably won't rule until the end of June. Still, if you got a premium tax credit, it wouldn't hurt to file your taxes early and make sure your refund is in your pocket before the Roberts gang has its say... just in case!


  1. jerry 2014.12.31

    If the corrupt Roberts court does the bidding of some of the right wing, then it most certainly could lead to the collapse of the insurance industry. Think about that, that could be a very good thing. The middle man insurance company is getting fatter and fatter with the combination of subsidy money and policy holder money flying in to their coffers. With the Insurance Division of each states collecting taxes on premium dollars, it is a cash cow for the states as well for the tax collected on premium dollars. The Insurance Division is the one who okays the rate increases to help satisfy the bottom line of the state they profess to protect. Nod nod wink wink, nothing to see here. Move along now. Squirrel. Should be fun times to see how this plays out.

  2. Bill Fleming 2014.12.31

    Interesting point, Jerry. Seems to me that SHS's main reason for opposing the ACA was that she thought it was too much of a gravy train for insurance companies.

  3. tara volesky 2014.12.31

    OK Democrats......if you want to be part of a great cause and get rid of your Timid reputation, why don't you be part of the class action lawsuit Mike Myers along with some other attorneys that are against big hospitals for lack of transparent pricing. Michael Myers who pioneered consolidation of hospitals, helped create the monster. He didn't realize it would come to this allowing SD to have 30% higher prices than our surrounding states. He wants Hospital to be what they once were, charitable non-profits. Ann, Joe, this would be a wonderful cause. Everybody is affected by healthcare. Here you have the true health guru of SD that has been fighting this battle against big medicine for over 25 years, and you have him sitting on the bench. Mike would send his students into these hospitals to get pricing. When they found it was Professor Myer's class, they would not let them in. Whose side are you going to be on, the people, or big insurance and corporate medicine. Myers has a resume in healthcare that nobody can touch, and I can't believe the Democrat party would be non active in this very important issue. I am very curious to see what kind of feedback I get back from the party. 605-292-0888. This could be a game changer for the party. Myers would be a great spokesperson for you.

  4. JeniW 2014.12.31

    Tara, would you provide a link about Mr. Myers class action lawsuit against the hospitals?

    Thank you

  5. tara volesky 2014.12.31

    There is no link as of now, but he is drawing up the lawsuit. Just got off the phone with him and he informed me he is going to apply for the vacancy on the Minnehaha County Commission. He would be great at dealing with medical bills that the county inherits. I am excited for him. Jeff Barth will love him. I hope they choose Myers over a politician. He does not fit in as your normal, no change South Dakotan.

  6. jerry 2014.12.31

    Whenever you have private companies dictating policy for public money, you have the potential for issues. Look at the EB-5 for one. That was a public service that got corrupted by the private entity of Rounds, Daugaard, Bolleen and others with the green light by Jackley. SHS was not against the private industry getting paid, she was against the public one being discussed. Keep this in mind Bill Fleming, SHS was not on the band wagon for the public option so that means she was against anything she saw as a bad deal for the insurance companies. Do you remember how the insurance lobby spent millions to corrupt the system that was being put into place before the passing of the ACA, all of the poison pills? They succeeded in making it to their advantage as always.

  7. tara volesky 2014.12.31

    Who do you think wrote the ACA bill? The big insurance companies. It boggles my mind the Democrat party is in bed with big insurance. They should have embraced the guy who knows how the system works.

  8. jerry 2014.12.31

    Don't let your mind be boggled Tara for it was not big insurance that wrote the ACA. It was the republican party. They not only wrote it, they got it blessed by Bush then implemented by Romney in Massachusetts. Democrats passed the legislation in both the state of Massachusetts and in Congress with no support from any republicans there. Show me any difference between what was passed in Mass and what was passed in Congress. If there are any discrepancies, they are few.

  9. JeniW 2014.12.31

    It would seem that Mr. Myers would have better luck getting the Republican Party on his side.

    Republicans dislike the ACA, and want to repeal the ACA entirely, which would leave people with pre-existing condition SOL in being able to get insurance.

  10. Jenny 2014.12.31

    They're all in bed together, big insurance lobbyists and their politicians wrote the ACA. Come on, Jerry.

  11. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    It's important to remember that the economy was in the post-Bush tank and banks/insurance companies were clamoring for corporate welfare after bailing out the feds because an illegal war in Iraq had drained US resources.

  12. jerry 2014.12.31

    IMO. The ACA could work as it is implemented and has a good track record in Massachusetts. The problem is in places like South Dakota it has to have the Medicaid Expansion to make it gell. We do not have the population hence the competition to make something work. Think of how gas prices are dictated in Rapid City and then think of how prices are dictated within the few insurance companies and you get the idea. The Medicare for all public type option is the only way healthcare can be delivered affordably.

  13. jerry 2014.12.31

    Of course, everyone has to be in bed together to make legislation work Jenny, for that there can be no denying. Lawmakers are not in the healthcare industry, they are for the most part, attorneys. The staff and those around them are what makes the sausage as it has always been.

  14. leslie 2014.12.31

    don't ever forget daugaard and every voting SDGOPer and others who elected him and rounds, have forsaken 48,000 south dakotans who do not qualify for ACA due to lack of income, and 30-70 people who will die annually as a result.

    emergency rooms don't provide cheap preventative health care.


  15. jerry 2014.12.31

    The ones that have forsaken the working poor are preachers like Steve Hickey and the rest of those who gather their flocks on each and every Sunday. Shame on the lot for not being at the forefront of providing shelter from the storm for all of the downtrodden. That message should have been trumpeted from the pulpit about being thy brothers and sisters keeper. Alas, they are also in bed with the lobbyists.

  16. tara volesky 2014.12.31

    Sanford and Avera own the Governor, the legislators, the media, and us. They will get Medicaid expansion when session comes around.

  17. leslie 2014.12.31

    larry-what did max get out of it, and i have never understood his beef w/ daschle, and daschle's beef w/ reid??

    i see a church has befriended a kindergarten class at RC's General Beadle school.

    RCJ factiod sunday front page-"578 students already identified homeless in RCASD. last year-742. [where are they?]- 394 doubling up, 125 in motels, 51 in shelters, eight are unsheltered."

    "$85,000 this year federal aid to RCASD homeless students."

    in the trenches are the only places these people are visible, just like the 30-70 dead annually due to failure to expand medicaid.

    without a home, drugs and alcohol, gambling, pay-day loans, pawn shops, strip clubs are looking pretty good. such stupid people making such stupid choices, eh troy, sib, les & grudz? certainly this class of person deserves what they get.

  18. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    leslie, as it is with John Thune, raising money is essential for advancement in Congress and Tom Daschle was not doing that for the Democratic Party. Baucus had, and still has, a huge war chest as Ambassador to China. Daschle and Trent Lott are traveling the speaking circuit talking about bipartisanship. Daschle's concessions to mining interests soured me on Tom now that the silt in the Oahe Dam and the Missouri River system threatens the entire ecosystem.

  19. grudznick 2014.12.31

    Lar, they should remove those dams and let all the water go free. That silt will be fertile ground for corporate farming of subsidized ethanol crops. Rewild the west. Mexican statehood for the tribes. And Happy New Year to all.

  20. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.31

    Grudz, I get a chuckle out of you.

  21. barry freed 2015.01.01

    If I read the website correctly:
    the Federal Exchange tax credit is based on one's income on line 37 of the 1040 form, line 4 of 1040ez, and line 21 on 1040a. One's adjusted gross income must be $11,600 or more.
    Am I understanding it correctly? I have friends this will affect and I would like to speak on the subject with accuracy.

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    $11,600? Barry, can you show me where you saw that number?

    $11,670 is the federal poverty level for one person in the lower 48 states. Individuals qualify for the premium tax credit if their income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. Those dollar thresholds increase based on household size. Folks over 400% don't qualify because they should be able to afford their own insurance. Folks below 100% don't qualify because they should qualify for Medicaid.

    Forms, forms, forms: it looks like everyone who bought insurance on the exchanges (state or federal) gets a new Form 1095-A, which will detail exactly what they got in advance premium tax credit, based on the 2014 income estimate they gave the exchange last year, to help pay for their insurance over 2014. Taxpayers use that information to fill out Form 8962, which will calculate the exact premium tax credit to which they are entitled based on their Line 37 Adjusted Gross Income. If that actual AGI is lower than the estimate used to calculate the advance tax credit, the taxpayer should get some more money back, an amount that will appear on line 69 of Form 1040. If AGI is higher than the income estimate from last year, the taxpayer will have to pay some of that advance premium tax credit back, a figure that will appear on line 46 of Form 1040.

  23. jerry 2015.01.01

    Very good Cory. It just seems more complicated than it really is. I see the tax preparers are already advertising to "solve" the problem. Looks like ordinary tax payers can figure this out pretty easily. Thanks

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.01.01

    It seems complicated when I write the instructions as a big block of text and when I come to the problem for the first time. That's part of why taxes feel so complicated: we do them only once a year, so we don't memorize and get used to the procedures. It doesn't seem the credit should be that complicated: just move the numbers from one form to the other in the right blanks, and things should work out. BUt we'll see how that goes....

  25. leslie 2015.01.01

    if you earn TOO LITTLE (48,000 residents) you can't qualify for ACA health care coverage and daugaard knows this but refuses, based on the GOP party line, to expand medicaid, at a cost of a few $ million dollars in exchage for $200-300 million in federal dollars to the state's economy, as i understand it generally.

  26. leslie 2015.01.01

    grudz-those silt filled drained reservoirs would arguably and likely revert back to their indian owners, commanding the futures of those down stream for former flood control and barge etraffic. some of the gold contained in homestake ect. abandoned polluted tailings would thusly be returned to the victims of deadwood/leads' theft and murder!

    the dams could be turned into skate parks for the kids.

  27. CLCJM 2015.01.01

    Jerry,not all congregations are in bed with lobbyists. The congregation I belong to is a small group with most members being of modest means and others who are living in poverty.Quite a few of us are very concerned with what's being done in the areas of poor, education, jobs and economic We do what we can to help others but with most of us struggling to make ends meet, we can't fill the gap as you would suggest. Now, there are some churches that do a lot and some who could afford to do more. All I ask is, please, don't paint all of us with the same brush.

  28. jerry 2015.01.01

    CLCKM, of course. Lobbyists are not in the mix, corrupted politicians are. Each congregation is what it is, what I speak of is the silence from the pulpit regarding being our brothers and sisters keeper. If you help one another out, great. What about the ones that are not in your congregation? Who speaks for them? The gap to be filled is not with money, it is with action. One person can only do so much, a congregation, adds voice and urgency to the issue. Clergy should take a stand to help protect those that are the working poor. The paint brush needs to be broad to remind clergy of their task to all, not just those that fill the pews.

  29. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.01

    Jerry, little pulpits do speak clearly on the subject, but little pulpits don't get press coverage. It's not only little pulpits. The entire ELCA speaks out repeatedly and often the subject *And* puts its money there too. Millions of dollars go from the ELCA treasury to the needs of the poor. But like most good news, it doesn't get covered in the media. Charlatans like Joel Osteen or the guy who was going to burn Korans sell a lot more advertising.

    Denominations like the ELCA (Lutheran), UMC (Methodist), PC-USA (Presbyterian) and others that I'm unaware of don't have big, ostentatious central headquarters or bloated bureaucracies. There are individual congregations that spend more than I think they ought on buildings and trappings, but denominational leadership doesn't control the budgets of individual churches.

    Jerry, your blanket generalizations are incorrect. Be specific. BTW, I share your frustration that the leaders with the big megaphones are so focused on self-aggrandizement, rather than fulfilling the mandate of Jesus.

  30. jerry 2015.01.01

    I somehow always hope that there may be an activist preacher that would be for the working poor. There certainly seem to be activist preachers who are pro right wing. If preachers would be a little, just a little like the Pope Frank and his activism, maybe there may be a change. As it stands, the Pope will send his climate change message out to all of the flock, including right wing preachers. Will the other denominations follow suit? Or will they remain quite so as not to offend the dollars that fill their coffers. The Pope clearly seems like he is for a couple of things I am for like climate change and helping the working poor. To bad there are not others to reach out and do the same so we could have Medicaid Expansion here in South Dakota. This would be a good thing all the way through. Great for the working poor and super for the states economy. That would even help put some moolah on the collection plate!

  31. Deb Geelsdottir 2015.01.01

    Jerry, did you read my comment just previous to this one? I answered your question.

  32. jerry 2015.01.01

    And I, yours.

  33. CLCJM 2015.01.05

    Jerry, there are several of us in our congregation that do try to actively support changing conditions like poverty and homelessness. We can't change it with money but we do help others in whatever ways we can. Our youth group serving breakfast at the Banquet is one example. The kids had to raise the money to pay for the food so they are learning about the problems in our community and help in small ways. I'm probably more politically active than anyone else but many no longer believe the political system works for anyone but the rich. I know most of them vote for who they think will do the right thing but know there's little chance of getting candidates in SD elected that will do what's right.

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