Breaking News
July 21, 2018 - FDA Approves Nivestym (filgrastim-aafi), a Biosimilar to Neupogen
July 21, 2018 - Surgeons have substantial impact on genetic testing in breast cancer patients who need it
July 21, 2018 - Species diversity can have positive and negative impacts on disease transmission
July 21, 2018 - Genome research suggests presence of enteric fever in medieval Europe
July 21, 2018 - Risk of Sensory Deficits Drops With Rising Gestational Age
July 21, 2018 - Mum’s sleep matters—the effect of sleep on an unborn baby
July 21, 2018 - UC San Diego researchers awarded two grants for investigating stem cell-based therapies
July 21, 2018 - Cellular ‘garbage disposal’ may actually work on some of the proteins to neuronal development
July 21, 2018 - More Pregnant Women Having Heart Attacks
July 21, 2018 - Acne Breakouts | NIH News in Health
July 21, 2018 - Change health messaging to focus on potential impact to help stop the next pandemic
July 21, 2018 - Frailty associated with poor survival rates in young heart patients
July 21, 2018 - New discovery could save millions of lives from fatal fungal infections
July 21, 2018 - OBD presents latest data on the use of EpiSwitch™ in predicting patient response to immunotherapy and identifying lymphoma subtypes
July 21, 2018 - Childhood adversity increases susceptibility to addiction via immune response
July 21, 2018 - Scientists identify potential target for the treatment of binge eating
July 21, 2018 - Whole-brain LIPUS therapy improves cognitive dysfunction in mice simulating dementia, Alzheimer’s
July 21, 2018 - Digital media use raising risk of ADHD symptoms among the young
July 21, 2018 - Phase 3 study of tanezumab in patients with osteoarthritis pain meets all three co-primary endpoints
July 21, 2018 - Restoring mitochondrial function to reverse aging-related skin wrinkles, hair loss in mice
July 21, 2018 - SP PennTech introduces RW-500 rotary vial washer for biotech, pharmaceutical applications
July 21, 2018 - Researchers to study molecular mechanisms behind susceptibility of males to autism
July 21, 2018 - Fourth Published Clinical Trial Confirms Long-Term Safety of Niagen Supplementation at High Doses and Shows Potential for Improvement in Liver Health
July 21, 2018 - Study examines effects of a two-day intermittent calorie restriction diet for patients with type 2 diabetes
July 21, 2018 - Greening vacant urban land reduces feelings of depression for surrounding residents
July 21, 2018 - Parents say intense gun violence in PG-13 movies appropriate for teens 15 and older
July 21, 2018 - Collaborative study to assess effects of exercise training for cognitive deficits in MS
July 21, 2018 - FAU researchers find possible cause of Parkinson’s disease in the patients’ immune system
July 21, 2018 - Protective qualities of ‘good cholesterol’ reduce after menopause
July 21, 2018 - Researchers develop new way to uncover hidden breast cancer tumors
July 21, 2018 - FDA approves first drug for treatment of adult AML patients with specific genetic mutation
July 21, 2018 - Top AI companies join hands to discover novel drugs for DMD
July 21, 2018 - Ferring announces FDA approval of ZOMACTON for injection in four new pediatric indications
July 20, 2018 - Researchers design proteins that can self-assemble into complex structures
July 20, 2018 - AVITA Medical expands management team to support launch of RECELL device to treat burns
July 20, 2018 - FDA Approves Tibsovo (ivosidenib) for Relapsed or Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia with an IDH1 Mutation
July 20, 2018 - Developmental screening and surveillance rates remain low, new study suggests
July 20, 2018 - TGen opens tissue donation portal to advance DIPG research
July 20, 2018 - Health impact of highly processed summertime staples
July 20, 2018 - Exergaming can improve health in overweight and obese children, study shows
July 20, 2018 - Postmenopausal factors may impact heart-protective qualities of ‘good cholesterol’
July 20, 2018 - MRI and blood test combination results in improved prostate cancer diagnosis
July 20, 2018 - Update Health Professional and Consumer on Recent Recalled Products
July 20, 2018 - Researchers trace Parkinson’s damage in the heart
July 20, 2018 - Wearable device designed to measure cortisol in sweat
July 20, 2018 - Scientists demonstrate a new regulation mechanism for skeletal muscles
July 20, 2018 - Exposure to mobile phone radiation may negatively impact memory performance in adolescents
July 20, 2018 - SUSU scientists find alternative method to treat post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome
July 20, 2018 - Gestational diabetes may increase offspring’s heart disease risk
July 20, 2018 - New vaccine could protect unborn babies from Zika virus
July 20, 2018 - Researchers find high mercury and methylmercury concentrations in traditional Tibetan medicine
July 20, 2018 - Brief Safety Plan Intervention in ER Can Cut Suicidal Behavior
July 20, 2018 - The Mount Sinai Hospital receives accreditation as geriatric emergency department
July 20, 2018 - Toward a better understanding of Parkinson’s disease
July 20, 2018 - Med school communications office wins four national awards | News Center
July 20, 2018 - Professional baseball players with faster hand-eye coordination may have better batting performance
July 20, 2018 - Study looks into mechanisms that control sleep and wakefulness
July 20, 2018 - Scientists identify melanoma biomarkers that could help tailor immunotherapy treatments
July 20, 2018 - Research reveals long-term efficacy of drug used to treat common cause of kidney failure
July 20, 2018 - Timing of dinner associated with breast and prostate cancer risks
July 20, 2018 - Health Tip: Performing the Heimlich Maneuver
July 20, 2018 - Nearly all adolescents have eating, activity or weight-related issues
July 20, 2018 - Sage launches new web-based tool that helps explore curated genomic analyses of Alzheimer’s
July 20, 2018 - High-performance porous polymeric material for chromatography applications
July 20, 2018 - New molecule shows great promise for future treatment of many cancers
July 20, 2018 - New research project investigates alternative treatments for eye infections
July 20, 2018 - Immune T cells are built to react as fast as possible, shows study
July 20, 2018 - ZHX2 protein could offer a new treatment strategy for kidney cancer
July 20, 2018 - EKF’s Quo-Lab POC HbA1c analyzer meets international quality targets for diabetes testing
July 20, 2018 - Health burdens of very high risk drinking are potentially large, study reveals
July 20, 2018 - Using miniature drug-filled nanocarriers to target headaches and tumors
July 20, 2018 - Researchers uncover cause for progression of prostate cancer to incurable stage
July 20, 2018 - Studies highlight issues regarding black lung, opioid overdose, police violence and more
July 20, 2018 - AbbVie submits supplemental NDA to FDA for venetoclax to treat acute myeloid leukemia
July 20, 2018 - Researchers are one step closer to developing eye drops to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
July 20, 2018 - Patients maintain muscle mass five years after surgically induced weight loss
July 20, 2018 - AMSBIO introduces new, powerful CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing kits
July 20, 2018 - PureTech Health collaborates with Roche to advance oral administration of antisense oligonucleotides
July 20, 2018 - Analysis reveals disparities in cancer death rates among minority groups
July 20, 2018 - Dr Maddy Parsons receives Royal Microscopical Society Life Science Medal
Don’t get tripped up by the IRS’ tweak to health savings accounts

Don’t get tripped up by the IRS’ tweak to health savings accounts

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

It’s tax time, and this week I answered questions from readers about the penalty for not having health insurance as well as changes to health savings accounts. I also discuss health insurance coverage options for a reader’s parents who are immigrants and green card holders.

Q: I heard that health savings account rules would be loosened under the new spending bill passed by Congress last month. Did that happen?

No. In fact, the standards have become slightly tighter this year.

In recent years, members of Congress from both parties have supported expanding eligibility for health savings accounts and how the money in them can be spent, among other things. To date, though, those proposals haven’t become law.

Health savings accounts, which are linked to high-deductible health plans, continue to multiply. In 2017, there were 22 million accounts totaling more than $45 billion in assets, an increase of 11 percent in the number of accounts over the previous year, according to Devenir, a firm that offers advice on HSA investments.

Money deposited in HSAs is tax-deductible, grows tax-free and can be used without owing tax to pay for medical expenses. Advocates promote the plans as a way to help consumers play a larger role in controlling their health spending and say that the tax advantages help people afford care.

The Internal Revenue Service announced last month that the maximum amount individuals with family coverage could contribute to their health savings accounts would actually be reduced slightly from their previously announced limit for 2018. The maximum contribution for people with individual coverage in 2018 remains $3,450.

The $50 family coverage contribution reduction, from $6,900 to $6,850, is pretty small change. It happened because the federal government altered the way it calculates inflation adjustments to the contribution limits.

But ignoring the new limit could create headaches for people who have already made the maximum HSA contribution for the year based on the $6,900 figure, said Roy Ramthun, president of HSA Consulting Services. If you don’t ask the bank that handles your HSA to return the $50 plus any earnings that have accrued before the next tax season, your taxable income will be off by that amount, plus you’ll be on the hook for a 6 percent penalty for exceeding the maximum contribution allowed.

That’s not going to amount to a lot of money, but there’s more than financial pain to consider, Ramthun said. “Do you really want to give the IRS a reason to come find you?”

Q: I didn’t have health insurance for one month last year, in January 2017. Do I owe a penalty for not having health insurance when I file my taxes this spring?

If you were uninsured for only one month in 2017, you won’t owe a penalty. People can be uninsured for up to three consecutive months during the year without triggering a tax penalty for not having coverage, said Tara Straw, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

This year, for the first time, the Internal Revenue Service won’t accept electronically filed tax returns unless filers report whether they had health insurance all year, were exempt from the requirement or will pay a penalty for not having had coverage. Tax refunds that are due with paper returns that don’t have this information may be delayed, according to the IRS.

In your case, you’ll file Form 8965 with your tax return to report a short-term coverage gap and claim an exemption from the coverage requirement. Your employer — or your insurer, if you purchased coverage on your own — will send a form to the IRS stating that you were covered for the other 11 months, Straw said.

Those penalties — $695 or 2.5 percent of your household income, whichever is greater — are also in force for 2018 coverage. But starting next year, you won’t owe a penalty no matter how long you may be uninsured. The tax reform law eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance in 2019.

Q: What health insurance options are available for my parents, who are seniors who worked in India and are now retired in the United States with green cards?

Depending on their situation, people like your parents who are legally entitled to reside permanently in the United States have a number of options.

From your description, it’s unclear whether they live on their own or with you. If you claim them as dependents on your taxes, you might consider adding them to your own health insurance plan, said Shelby Gonzales, a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Assuming your parents haven’t worked for at least 10 years in the United States, they’re probably not eligible for premium-free hospitalization coverage under Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older, Gonzales said. If they’ve lived in the States for at least five years and their income and other resources meet state eligibility guidelines, however, they could qualify for Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people.

If they don’t qualify for either government health program, they could consider buying a health insurance plan on the state marketplace or through a broker.

If they buy a marketplace plan, they could be eligible for premium subsidies if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (about $66,000 for a couple in 2018), said Gabrielle Lessard, a senior policy attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.

Please visit khn.org/columnists to send comments or ideas for future topics for the Insuring Your Health column.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles