Thanks, Obama: Poorest Obamacare Recipients Billed $531 By IRS

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Feb 24, 2015 2:35 PM
Thanks, Obama: Poorest Obamacare Recipients Billed $531 By IRS

The burden of Obamacare is hitting the program’s poorest recipients with a $531 tax bill by the IRS that cuts into their returns by 17 percent, according to a study conducted by H&R Block. In the study, Americans making 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for a tax credit to purchase health insurance. But, in the end, 52 percent will actually owe the IRS money. The study also found that the average individual mandate penalty is $172 (via ATR):

The majority (52 percent) of Obamacare enrollees receiving an advance premium tax credit to purchase Obamacare insurance is facing the prospect of paying back $530 of that tax credit to the IRS, according to a new study from H&R Block. This clawback is reducing the refunds for these taxpayers by 17 percent this filing season.

Under Obamacare, taxpayers earning between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to receive a tax credit to help purchase insurance on Obamacare exchanges. This tax credit is calculated using old tax data of the recipients. The credit is advanced ahead of time to the taxpayer's insurance company. The taxpayer must reconcile at tax time the advance credit received with the actual credit she is eligible for.

Families of four earning less than $97,000 are eligible for a credit. So is a single mother with two children earning less than $80,000 and an unmarried/childless taxpayer earning less than about $12,000. By definition, these are the lowest income recipients of Obamacare health insurance outside the Medicaid-eligible population.

According to the study, a majority of credit recipients--52 percent--have had to pay back the IRS an average of $530, reducing their refunds by an average of 17 percent.

As Katie and Guy have reported, the government sending the wrong tax information is highly embarrassing; the  individual mandate penalty (taxes, really) is set for a huge increase this year; and the issues with subsidies and the Medicaid expansion in California are just more stories to be added in the annals of this messy rollout.