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Ehealth Releases Top Health And Health Insurance Tax Tips For The 2012 Tax Year

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA–(Marketwire – Feb 19, 2013) – Today eHealth, Inc. ( NASDAQ : EHTH ) (eHealthInsurance.com[1]), America’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange, released a series of tips for health insurance consumers preparing to file their 2012 federal tax returns.

Many consumers overlook credits and deductions built into the tax code that are designed to make medical care and health insurance[2] more affordable. Consumers who had high medical expenditures in 2012, who were self-employed or owners of small businesses, or who cared for aging parents should educate themselves on the opportunities to deduct a portion of their expenses from their federal income tax. This year’s tax season is also a good time for consumers to familiarize themselves with the possible tax consequences of health reform provisions scheduled to come into effect in January of 2014.

The tips below do not constitute personal tax advice and eHealth recommends that consumers explore these issues with a certified public accountant or tax professional when completing their federal income taxes.

Health and Insurance Related Tax Tips for Tax Year 2012

  • Itemize medical expenses while you can – Not everyone has medical expenses high enough to deduct them on their federal tax returns, but even fewer will be able to do so next year. 2012 is the last year you’ll be able to itemize and deduct medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. As a result of health reform, that threshold is being raised to 10% for the 2013 tax year. So, if you itemize on your federal tax return, do the math. Qualifying medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of your adjusted gross income for 2012 may be itemized. You can refer to IRS Publication 502[3] for more information about qualifying medical expenses, but these may include monthly premiums you pay for coverage (including some Medicare premiums), copayments, deductibles, dental expenses, and costs for some services not covered by your insurance plan. You may even deduct mileage accrued while driving to and from regular appointments. This deduction isn’t for everyone, but if you (or one of your dependents) were seriously ill or hospitalized last year, you may qualify.
  • Expenses for the care for an aging parent – If your elderly parent earned less than $3,800 in 2012 (excluding Social Security in most cases) and you provided more than half of his or her financial support, you may be able to claim your parent as a dependent. This earns you an additional dependent exemption, even if your parent doesn’t live with you. And if you’ve paid for the medical or nursing care of a dependent parent, you may also be able to itemize your costs as qualified medical expenses.
  • Medicare premiums and medical home improvements – If you’re a retired senior, you may have an easier time meeting the 7.5% adjusted gross income threshold to deduct itemized medical expenses on your federal return. In addition to your out-of-pocket expenses for medical, dental or vision care, you may also be able to include capital expenses for the installation of home medical equipment or improvements of your property for wheel-chair access. In addition, premiums taken from your Social Security check to pay for Medicare Part B may qualify as deductible, as well as premiums you paid for Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug) coverage or a Medicare Supplemental plan.
  • Deducting health insurance premiums as a business expense – If you had self-employment income in 2012, you may be able to deduct health insurance premiums you paid for yourself and your dependents as an ‘above the line’ business expense (that is, without itemizing) on your federal tax return. Be aware, however, that you may not deduct premiums (including Medicare premiums) paid for any month in which you were eligible to participate in an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, and the amount you deduct cannot be greater than your net self-employment income for the year. Also, keep in mind that you cannot include what you paid toward your monthly premiums as an ‘above the line’ expense and also itemize it. Talk to a tax professional to learn more about the different types of self-employment status and the tax implications of each in your state.
  • Fund your Health Savings Account (HSA) for 2012 – An HSA is a tax-advantaged savings account used in conjunction with an HSA-eligible health insurance plan. Account contributions, qualified distributions and earnings are all tax-exempt. An HSA allows you to deposit a portion of your pre-tax income into a savings account and use those funds to pay for qualified medical expenses. Unused money can be invested and accrue from year to year. If you have an HSA, be sure to deduct your contributions up to federally prescribed limits. Contributions to your HSA designated for 2012 and made before April 15, 2013 can be counted toward your 2012 federal taxes. According to IRS Publication 969[4], HSA contributions for the 2012 tax year are capped at $3,100 for individuals and $6,250 for families. If you’re over age 55, you may qualify to make an additional $1,000 contribution for the year.
  • Get tax credits for providing employees with coverage – If you’re a small business owner providing group health insurance coverage for your workers, don’t forget that there may be special tax credits available to you. If you have 25 or fewer employees with average annual wages of less than $50,000, you may be eligible for a special tax credit of up to 35% of the amount you contribute toward employee insurance premiums. Starting in 2014, that credit will increase to 50%. Keep in mind that in order to qualify for the credit you must have paid at least fifty percent of your employees’ total monthly premiums.
  • Start thinking about tax changes for 2014 – Once you’ve completed your taxes this year, take a look at your income and see if you’ll qualify for a federal health insurance subsidy in 2014. If your adjusted gross income was less than 400% of the federal poverty level (that’s about $45,000 for a single person or $92,000 for a family of four, in 2012 dollars), you may qualify for a government subsidy in 2014. Failure to obtain health insurance in 2014 could result in a tax penalty. Another change: starting this year, you may notice a new dollar figure in Box 12 of your W-2. If you have employer-based health insurance, the cost of your coverage is reported to the IRS here. You are not taxed on this amount, but so-called “Cadillac” plans (with aggregate values of over $10,200 for individual coverage or $27,500 for families) may be subject to an excise tax starting in 2018.

Additional Consumer Resources:

About eHealtheHealth, Inc. ( NASDAQ : EHTH ) is the parent company of eHealthInsurance, America’s first and largest private health insurance exchange where individuals, families and small businesses can compare health insurance products from leading insurers side by side and purchase and enroll in coverage online. eHealthInsurance offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by more than 180 of the nation’s leading health insurance companies. eHealthInsurance is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Through the company’s eHealthTechnology solution (www.eHealthTechnology.com[5]), eHealth is also a leading provider of health insurance exchange technology. eHealthTechnology’s exchange platform provides a suite of hosted e-commerce solutions that enable health plan providers, resellers and government entities to market and distribute products online. eHealth, Inc. also provides powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help seniors navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online through its wholly-owned subsidiary, PlanPrescriber.com (www.planprescriber.com[6]) and through its Medicare website www.eHealthMedicare.com[7].

For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealthInsurance consumer blog: Get Smart – Get Covered[8].

References

  1. ^ eHealthInsurance.com (ctt.marketwire.com)
  2. ^ health insurance (ctt.marketwire.com)
  3. ^ Publication 502 (ctt.marketwire.com)
  4. ^ IRS Publication 969 (ctt.marketwire.com)
  5. ^ www.eHealthTechnology.com (ctt.marketwire.com)
  6. ^ www.planprescriber.com (ctt.marketwire.com)
  7. ^ www.eHealthMedicare.com (ctt.marketwire.com)
  8. ^ Get Smart – Get Covered (ctt.marketwire.com)

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Comments

    • Hg
    • February 20, 2013
    Reply

    Do These Health Tips Actually Work? 1 apple / day – no doctor
    1 lemon / day – no fat
    1 cup of milk / day – no bone problems
    3 ltrs water / day – no diseases…

    Also what are some losing weight health tips?

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • February 20, 2013
      Reply

      No, these health ‘tips’ are actually myths. It’s all very healthy to do that, but no.

      To lose weight, all you can really do is exercise more and eat healthy and try to keep your calories at around 1600 a day. It’s good to drink homemade lemonade that tastes pretty sour and not sweetened very much- it’s good for your metabolism. Tea is good, fruits and vegetables are good. It’s a great time to get active because it’s summer and you’ll sweat more, which is awesome for your body to flush out toxins and such. I like making fruit smoothies and adding spinach or kale (you can’t taste it and it’s so good for your body- not to mention filling). When you snack during the day, only snack on ‘raw’ foods like fruits and vegetables, or maybe a few almonds.

      Good luck!

      View Comment
  1. Reply

    What Are Your Best Tips To Live A Healthy Life? Health tips in any area would be great. Especially what foods to eat, fitness tips, avoiding colds or being sick, and being happier.

    Sorry it’s so broad, but I just wanted some really good tips or secrets, or anything. Thanks!

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • February 20, 2013
      Reply

      One has to be happy, not worry about everything little thing that goes wrong, think of others who have life a lot worse or the ones who are gone who whould like to swich with you, but most importantly, you must cleanse your body of toxins and take suppliments.

      View Comment
  2. Reply

    What Is The Best Health Advice You’ve Given Or Received? We could probably all use a few health tips to live a better life, what do you want to share?

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • February 20, 2013
      Reply

      Limit processed foods

      try to eat as much natural food as you can such as vegetbales, fruit, brown rice, wholemeal-grain bread, fish, chicken, nuts, and healthy fats.

      Not only do you look better but you feel better both body and mind

      View Comment
  3. Reply

    Anyone Have Some Good Tips For A College Student Who Wants To Lose About 35 Pounds? Basically Im pretty lethargic due to the studying….I do a fair bit of walking and I dont eat fast food more than a coupla times a month, but I seem to keep gaining weight. Basically I need some health tips or some way of beginning to get rid of the buddha belly.

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • February 20, 2013
      Reply

      As a fellow student, I understand your struggle. My butt feels constantly glued to a seat and I don’t have the time or attention for planning healthy meals. It’s tough but I manage to control my weight and even lose weight every now and then with some pretty easy tactics. Since you want to lose it, you’ll have to get serious. I would highly recommend cardio workouts. Depending on your fitness level and personal tastes you could try at home workouts like Tae Bo or you can hit the gym (in which case walking or jogging on the tredmill mixed with weights would be effective). Basically, make yourself workout even when you feel tired from studying or a long day. Next thing you know, you’ll look forward to the stress relief. Remember to watch what you eat and consider counting calories…you may be surprised how much you eat daily! Get sleep. Lack of sleep stresses the bod out and you may compensate with food. And you definitely will have less energy for workouts. GOOD LUCK!

      View Comment
  4. Reply

    I’m Trying To Loose Weight, What Are Some Health Tips? I’m making a modeling portfolio, and I know I need to be slimmer. What are some health tips, such as eating veggies, and colors to dress in the make you look slimmer? What is skinny for height 5’8″? I am Indian (India) & German and I have blue eyes.

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • February 20, 2013
      Reply

      Unfortunately there are no easy ways to permanently lose weight and most people who lose weight regain it all.

      A vegetarian or vegan diet for the rest of your life might perhaps be a good option as very few vegetarians or vegans are overweight.

      If you want a life changing permanent weight loss you need to follow a maintenance diet for the rest of your life after you reach your target weight with one of the many diets you can choose from.

      You can see further details in a web search for “how to lose weight and keep it off”.

      View Comment

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