Turbotax and PPACA help

I just finished doing my tax return for the year.  There were two important things I noticed.  For the first time in my marriage, my wife and I don’t max out the student loan interest deduction.  That is a major win for us.

Secondly and more importantly, Turbotax was pushing the Exchanges reasonably hard.  There was a question on health insurance status for family members and then a decision tree if anyone was not covered.  This is important for two reasons.  First, it should continue to spread the word about how expansive the subsidies are for people on the Exchange as well as the expansion of Medicaid for people in expansion states.  A lot of people of small means don’t believe that they’ll get financial help in buying decent insurance.  Secondly, for the people who are aware that they need to do something about insurance, the tax refund is a usually the biggest lump sum distribution that people see in a year.  It is easier to buy a policy when the tax refund can pay for the first nine months of premiums.  I know my cousin who I’ve mentioned elsewhere on Balloon Juice was waiting for the refund to buy an Exchange policy.

The curves of procrastination don’t perfectly align.  The long term procrastinators for PPACA have until the end of March to enroll.  The procrastinators for filing have until April 15th to do something, so the reminders won’t line up perfectly, but this is useful.

61 replies
  1. 1
    eric says:

    all designed to give the IRS, and thus Obama, more and more information on how to control the lives of America’s citizens. Couple this with the Obama administration’s desire to control the internet and you can see why Hannity is leaving NY for someplace saner like Costa Rica

  2. 2
    IowaOldLady says:

    @eric: Wow, and here I was thinking this was a good way to inform people. I forgot about the FEMA camps.

  3. 3
    Betty Cracker says:

    Good to know. I think you’re right — it’s an important avenue to raise awareness for people who don’t spend any time thinking about this stuff.

  4. 4
    eric says:

    @IowaOldLady: joke all you like, but when Obama’s third term starts it will be too late!!

  5. 5
    Brian R. says:



  6. 6
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:


    Your nym is too generic for me to know if this is snark or ass-hattery.

    Anyway, keep on keeping on, or STFU, respectively, and respectfully.

  7. 7
    eric says:

    @Brian R.: it is “funny” you say this……i was explaining to a friend last night what the magazine “Zion’s Fire” is all about (for reasons that are too long to go into) and that is exactly what those folks do say.

  8. 8
    eric says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): to determine between snark and ass hattery, proper usage of grammar, punctuation, and monosyllabic words are the tell. If I mess with those then it is impossible to tell (unless you know me). I have often thought of doing my own newsletter with “commentary” as a way to infiltrate the belly of the beast. To be a 21st century Jonah. ;)

  9. 9
    lockewasright says:

    @eric: Do you find that the quality of brain wave protection justifies the expense of going with a brand name like Reynold’s or should we all just save money and buy generic?

  10. 10
    piratedan says:

    I for one, welcome our new overlords…. oops, wrong thread…

  11. 11
    WereBear says:

    It’s like the government is all linked together somehow!

  12. 12
    eric says:

    @lockewasright: When Holder and his thugs start raiding corporate boardrooms it wont matter who makes the aluminum foil ;)

  13. 13
    doug r says:

    @eric: You missed sneak middle class tax cut. But you like more taxes, right?

  14. 14
    doug r says:

    @lockewasright: You’re just wasting your money unless you get a Faraday cage.

  15. 15
    Brian R. says:


    True. I believe the great Holder Boardroom Raids are planned for right after the moment when John Kerry turns Mount Rushmore into the headquarters for the UN Agenda 21 coups, but just before the point at which Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz explodes the sun. It’s all spelled out at WND.

  16. 16
    the Conster says:


    Your fluency in wingnut is now creating an almost 100% fool rate. Your work here is done, Grasshopper. Now go, and get some of that sweet sweet grift from the nutjobs who still don’t get Colbert.

  17. 17
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @eric: Oh, look, DougJ is bored and has decided to troll the blog. Now that I’ve fed the troll I feel like I’ve done my balloon-juice duty for the day.

  18. 18
    shelly says:

    I thought Chris Christie was invited to be part of CPAC, but he doesn’t appear in the program, so far. (And Sarah Palin is being coy, as usual)

  19. 19
    Jay says:

    So…my mother is 65, covered under medicare, in Indiana, making about $25k/yr. I want to make sure she’s got enough coverage in general, but I know the Medicare Advantage things are basically scams, she wants to make sure she has enough to cover basic emergency medical stuff.

    Any good advice from the Juicers?

  20. 20
    IowaOldLady says:

    Most people I know have some sort of “supplementary policy,” but I’m not sure what that means because Mr IOL is still working. My SIL’s supplementary plan is paid for by her former employer. That’s what they do for retiree health insurance.

  21. 21
    smith says:

    @IowaOldLady: I have a suppementary plan I get through AARP membership that covers just about everything Medicare doesn’t. It costs about $200/mo. My 90-yr-old mother has been on this plan for many years and likes it a lot.

  22. 22
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jay: A good place to start….SHIPtalk.org.

  23. 23
    Ruckus says:

    Medicare should cover basic emergency medical care. Should. It’s the part B and D that worry me. (64, soon to cross over into the forbidden zone) I don’t think there is a reliable source for what a 65 yr old might need. The insurance cos are just trying to sell you something. Maybe a local insurance broker? I have been looking myself and had to take care of both my parents when they needed medical intervention and don’t really see any good answers without excess money. As long as olds have money or assets, they will be used to keep them alive. What happens after that?

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    Went and looked at that. Thanks!

    But it gave me a thought. Wouldn’t it be easier to just provide care without all the add on programs, explaining grants and the x number of bandaids to the base program to make it work? I know that would be the easy and sensible way and so we can’t have that but shouldn’t we be working towards that as, if nothing else, a money saving issue?

  25. 25
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Ruckus: What happens after that is Medicaid.

    I think I’ve said before that my mother spent the last year of her life in the Alzheimer’s wing of a nursing home. She spent her savings until they were gone. Then Medicaid paid the difference what her pension, social security, and long term care policy didn’t cover.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    FWIW Jackson Hewitt is also pushing the ACA.

  27. 27
    indycat32 says:

    @Jay: I turned 65 last year (also in Indiana). I’m healthy, only doctor visit is yearly checkup, not on any meds but if I didn’t get Part D now I’d have to pay a penalty forever, when I did sign up. Trying to compare different plans left me helplessly confused. I finally said heck with it and went with IU Health. Of course it helps that I live in Indy. It’s $35/month with a $15 co-pay for doctor’s visit and includes Part D coverage. I’m wondering why you say medicare advantage plans are scams?

  28. 28
    aimai says:

    I hate to state the obvious but this is all so very crazy–just figure out what health care (care) would consist of for every kind of person and just sign people up, tax them for it on a monthly basis (kids excluded) and call it a day. Its ridiculous to force people to guestimate their particular health care risk load–they dont’ and can’t have perfect information. They don’t know what their risks are, they don’t know how long they are going to live (what period of time the premiums need to be spread out over) and it shouldn’t matter. The idea that there are different plans and different formularies for each person is just nuts.

  29. 29
    Ruckus says:

    Yes. Both of my parents did that as well until they passed. Both had Alzheimers and lived in homes for the last 10 yrs of life. They both had SS and some savings but when that was gone their options were much more limited. Mom lived til 95 so that made the situation tough towards the end.

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    The fun part is that I’m a reasonably cognisant person, still have use of my logic facilities, and even at one point understood/spoke somewhat fluent bureaucratize. I also used to study and purchase group health insurance for my company. And trying to make reasonable sense and decide what to do makes me want to tear out my hair which I can’t do as it already is gone.
    I’m lucky, I have the VA. But that has limitations and income caps as well. So should I take Medicare along with my VA coverage? That takes away from my limited funds. What will happen if conservatives cut the VA again? I then pay a Medicare late enrollment fee that can run into thousands if I haven’t been paying for it.
    And I’m lucky that I even have a choice, as difficult as that may be to make.

    Why the hell should anyone of any age have to rely on luck or kludges to an absolutely broken system to attempt to stay healthy?
    And and even better question, Why do so many assholes fight any attempts to make real healthcare a national priority?

  31. 31
    Ruckus says:

    I read every one of your informative posts and have learned or relearned a lot.

    Thanks for the effort, it is well worth it.

  32. 32
    Helen says:

    I used H&R Block and while they are not “pushing” the ACA they do tell you the basics, when open enrollment is, etc. They also told, me, based upon this year’s income, how much in penalties I’d pay for the next 3 years if I don’t enroll.

  33. 33
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Ruckus: I’m covered by that sort of scheme. I’m even insured when I’m unemployed (as I am at the moment) and unable to pay insurance premiums. No COBRA, no worrying about pre-existing conditions and the like. No co-pays, don’t even pay anything for prescription drugs.

    I’m British.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m only just starting to look into things like this for my mother, but I think the insurance term you’re looking for is “Medi-Gap” rather than Medicare Advantage. As I understand it, Medi-Gap policies cover the difference between Medicare payments and additional expenses while Medicare Advantage is Medicare with a few extra bells and whistles, so it won’t cover the expenses you’re thinking of.

  35. 35
    Ruckus says:

    @Robert Sneddon:
    Lucky bast…..!

    That was sort of my point actually. We have evidence that programs like the NHS and so on work. We even have programs like Switzerland’s to cut in the private insurance companies for their cut. And they work and seem to be fairly acceptable for the vast majority of people in their countries. But here we have government programs which function but are barely functional. And a private system which is sorely broken, unless you have lots of money. Even with the ACA we are only adding additional kludges to the system to hopefully make it better. Which of course it will and has. But better is a relative term, as in better than nothing, but still not very good.
    When do we move out of the dark ages and not let our american exceptionalism continue to shun actual working examples?

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    I guess everyone’s off doing their taxes.

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    I’m doing mine tomorrow.
    That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

  38. 38
    gelfling545 says:

    H&R Block also has info re: the ACA & a connection to
    helpth.com” (a H&R Block site, I guess)which leads you to a lot of ACA info & even, in NY, the sign up site. The tax return docs show not only what the penalty would be over 3 years but also the average cost of a silver plan for my age & income where I live.

  39. 39
    Davis X. Machina says:


    : When do we move out of the dark ages and not let our american exceptionalism continue to shun actual working examples?

    When the Civil War is finally over.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @Baud: I been busting my ass in the garden. Now lets see if the Illini can drop their 8th straight.

  41. 41
    Yatsuno says:

    @Baud: I’m being lazy about mine. But sometime today. Maybe. After lunch. Possibly.

  42. 42
    some guy says:

    Accounts of what happened to the rest of the population of Adra are confused. I spoke to some of the 5,000 refugees who had been allowed to leave by Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic Front on 30 December and some of whom are now squatting in a giant cement factory. They said the jihadis had ordered them to their basements and had kept them there. The number singled out for execution is put at between 32 and 80. There are accounts of the doctor in the local clinic, a Christian known locally as Dr George, being decapitated. Bakery workers who resisted their machinery being taken away were roasted in their own oven. Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic Front fighters went from house to house with a list of names and none of those taken away then has been since. This includes the head of the legal department at the Information Ministry who disappeared with his wife and daughter and whose phone is now being answered by a man saying he belongs to Jabat al-Nusra.

    congratulations, American taxpayers, for your courageous financial and moral support of the brave fighters in Syria. Along with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE, American taxpayers have made it possible for the brave fighters of al-Nusra and the Islamic Front to fight the evil secular forces of Assad and Syrian civil society. Let the beheadings continue!

  43. 43
    Ruckus says:

    @Davis X. Machina:
    Agreed, but my history courses told me that was over 150 yrs ago.
    I believe there may be a few too many sore losers left about.

  44. 44
    some guy says:

    To be on the safe side, on September 16, Obama waived a federal statute making it illegal to offer material support to known terrorist organizations. In a determination to the Secretary of State, Obama wrote:
    “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 40(g) and 40A(b) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), I hereby:
    determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and defense services to vetted members of the Syrian opposition; organizations implementing U.S. Department of State or USAID programs inside or related to Syria; and international organizations necessary for the conduct of their operations inside or related to Syria, or to prevent the preparation, use, or proliferation of Syria’s chemical weapons, is essential to the national security interests of the United States;
    waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction; and
    delegate to the Secretary of State the responsibility under section 40(g)(2) of the AECA to consult with and submit reports to the Congress for proposed exports, 15 days prior to authorizing them to proceed, that are necessary for and within the scope of this waiver determination and the transaction referred to herein.”
    The AECA is the Arms Export Control Act of 1976. The president has the power to waive the AECA provisions against arming known terrorist organizations if it “is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”

  45. 45
    some guy says:

    your tax dollars at work, providing arms and support to al Qaeda.


  46. 46
    raven says:

    @some guy: Go fuck yourself dickhead.

  47. 47
    Botsplainer says:

    @some guy:

    You do understand that this is a civil war that is breaking down not only on religious lines, but clan lines as well? That there are long lasting, pent up grudges and scores being settled, and it isn’t just a “tyrant/secular leader vs freedom fighters/extremists” thing? Shia vs Maronite vs Sunni vs Alawite vs Orthodox vs Druze vs Chalcedonian Orthodox vs secular, and everybody has some grudge against everybody else, all while they seem to agree that Assad’s kleptocracy wasn’t great. Thing is, they are correctly taking it out on Assad’s customary power supporters, those being his fellow Alawite tribesmen and the Christian minority leadership, all while everybody settles up on every slight done over the past 40 years. Unfortunately, it being a civil war, there are a large number of collaterals injured or killed.

  48. 48
    some guy says:


    well, it’s tax time, so it’s good to know Team Obama is making sure al-Nusrah and the Islamic Front have the resources they need to behead doctors and incinerate bakers. without your ongoing financial support, raven, how could the brave jihadi’s wage war against Assad?

    More than US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) has been paid out since the summer, much of it for weapons purchases in Eastern Europe, according to sources connected with Gulf governments, which are bankrolling the effort.

    On Saturday, less than 48 hours after getting the funds from US officials, rebels launched a new military campaign called Geneva Horan, involving 68 rebel units in southern Syria.

    I sure hope it’s American taxpayers funds that are paying for the brave rebels to keep those nuns hostage in MaLula. It’s one thing to decapitate a doctor, or to throw bakery workers in their own ovesn using American funds, but I am sure American taxpayer funded rebels would never behead or terrorize their kidnapped hostages, especially not nuns, amirite raven?

  49. 49
    some guy says:


    awesome, is this why the rebels we are funding are flying the black flag of al-Qaeda (as seen in the 8th video from the LiveLeak link I posted above) during their latest campaign? is this what “moderate al-Qaeda forces” look like?

    the hyper-sectarian nature of the Syrian Civil War is not something that just happens, it took Prince Bandar’s operatives and cash quite a bit of doing.

    bravo for our brave al Qaeda fighters, bravo. please deploy your latest American funds wisely!

  50. 50
    raven says:

    @some guy: I sure hope they come get your ass.

  51. 51
    some guy says:


    how sweet. your objective support for the “moderate” jihadi’s of al-Nusrah and the Islamic Front is touching, raven, very very touching.

    I wonder, is it their beheadings that bring you joy, or their kidnappings of nuns that gets you off, or their shelling of civilians you find most pleasurable? there is so much to love about al Qaeda in in Syria, I wonder what your favorite technique is?

  52. 52
    doug r says:

    @some guy: So you prefer Assad I guess? Here try this link: http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=1965

  53. 53
    Botsplainer says:

    @some guy:

    Let me guess – American convert to Orthodoxy, and you’ve been devouring the material that comes from the Antiochian Archdiocese?

    Christ, there were great sobs over Hariri getting assassinated by Assad’s security assholes, and now Assad is apparently the greatest guy in the world.

  54. 54
    raven says:

    @some guy: dull deer antler for you

  55. 55
    some guy says:


    nope, agnostic, raised as an American Catholic. nice guess, though.

    I remember fondly how the 1980s version of the BJ Center-Right Fight Club cheered so loudly (and gave so much money) when jihadis were slitting the throats of Afghan teachers and nurses and doctors. death to communism, go Team! and here you all are again, 33 years later, cheering on Team Jihadi. go Team, yay Team!

  56. 56
    some guy says:


    yes, you are dull, dear. we understand. but typically antlers are a sign of a cuckold, the significant other working late hours at work recently? various “appointments” they forget to tell you about? nothing that a good therapist can’t help you work through, I am sure.

  57. 57
    Botsplainer says:

    @some guy:

    Ah, so you haven’t been treated to 25 years of monthly glossy magazines fawning praise over Assad’s wise rulership, like I have.

    I know a snowjob when I see one.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:


    You do understand that this is a civil war that is breaking down not only on religious lines, but clan lines as well? That there are long lasting, pent up grudges and scores being settled, and it isn’t just a “tyrant/secular leader vs freedom fighters/extremists” thing? Shia vs Maronite vs Sunni vs Alawite vs Orthodox vs Druze vs Chalcedonian Orthodox vs secular, and everybody has some grudge against everybody else, all while they seem to agree that Assad’s kleptocracy wasn’t great.

    Please, you think that the master of no nuance is going to be able to understand that as anything but “al-Qaeda’s the bestest!”

    some guy thinks Quadaffi should have been left in power.

  59. 59
    Ruckus says:

    Why are people discussing this?
    It’s just some guy. some guy without the imagination to come up with even a lame pseudonym. He’s just some guy. That’s like owning just a car. Car doesn’t have any particular color, shape or redeeming features. It’s interchangeable with any number of cars that are all just there, it runs and that’s all it’s got. It’s some car. It’s bland and listless it gets exactly no one’s blood pumping in any way. It’s some guy. Sorry, that should be, it’s just some car. Easy to get confused about just some guy, just some car, there really is no difference.

  60. 60
    Duane says:

    of course all the tax preparers are pushing ACA…. giving the financially unaware a bigger tax credit gives them a bigger pool of money to figure out a way to get fees from and/or a customer for life for getting them a bigger rebate check….win win on their part….

  61. 61
    Matt McIrvin says:

    TurboTax has to ask about these things so it can fill out the part of the return concerning the mandate. It’s been that way in Massachusetts for years. But I don’t know what it did if you had no coverage.

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