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.