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Old 09-30-2017, 10:59 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
Once the premiums exceed 10% of your AGI, you can start to use the medical deduction for the amounts that exceed 10% for all medical expenses including insurance, dental, vision, etc.

Small relief I know. And doesn't help unless you exceed the standard deduction for all you deductions put together.
This is one of my biggest bugaboos, that we have to use a lot of after-tax dollars to pay for HI while those in group plans have a combination of tax-free dollars (employer subsidy) and pretax dollars (payroll deduction), even if they don't itemize. Why can't our HI premiums be a pretax deduction akin to an tIRA deduction? I have written my elected leaders about this but none have replied (big shocker).

With an AGI of around $40k, that means the first $4k of my med expenses are excluded from being deducted.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:02 AM   #22
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What about group insurance through Costco , or there's an association for self employed people one can join if you have some sort of self employment. Not for everyone, of course, but if you can craft some "work" (like rental property) to be self employed, may be an option?

I am looking to early retire at 56 because my eyes can't look at a computer screen all day anymore. The HI situation is biggest consideration. I now qualify for my company's retiree plan with premium of $600/mo for 1500 deductible. Estimate I'd spend about 15% on healthcare if I retired next year. And I'm pretty darn healthy. But I will explore other options.

My plan B (A, really) is move to France where I can teach English or do something else, live simply and relatively cheaply and have good healthcare for less than in the US. But I still need some HI here until I move. I just hope we get single payer coverage soon. It makes the most sense economically, and is good socially too. The lack of it really complicates people's lives. And health.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:05 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by scrabbler1 View Post
This is one of my biggest bugaboos, that we have to use a lot of after-tax dollars to pay for HI while those in group plans have a combination of tax-free dollars (employer subsidy) and pretax dollars (payroll deduction), even if they don't itemize........ .
I agree that this is grossly unfair, especially since those getting this break tend to be in a better economic position that people that have to buy off the open market.
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Old 09-30-2017, 11:21 AM   #24
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Regarding medically underwritten non ACA compliant health plans...

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Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
It sounds like this could be an option for someone like me who's relatively young and in good health if things really go haywire with ACA-compliant plans. How do you go about finding these medically underwritten plans? Are they listed on search sites like ehealthinsurance.com? And do you have to pay the ACA tax penalty since you don't have an ACA compliant plan?
Look around for 'short term health insurance' and you will find these plans. We (my family) went this route for 2017 where the premium is $575/mo vs $1,100 for the cheapest ACA compliant plan. The deductible is about half ($3,500 vs $7,000) and the coverage for things like urgent care visits (which is all we have ever used in the past) is pretty good - much better than our ACA plan.

At the beginning of the year I was able to purchase an 11 month plan. So as I understand it, that means that if one of us were to get something terrible we would be covered for 11 months. If we buy the same policy in December that thing would now be a 'pre-existing condition' and wouldn't be covered. However, we would be eligible for an ACA plan in Jan 2018 (if the ACA even existed - which at the time was questionable). Also factored in that the penalty (again, was't clear that it would be enforced in late 2016) would have been around $2,700 or so. I should add that if you already have pre-existing conditions, they would probably not be covered with these plans, just FYI.

For 2018 some things have changed. First in Oregon, but maybe elsewhere too, I heard that the short term plans will only be 3 or 4 months rather than 11 months. So that is a big negative. Additionally, and this probably doesn't affect most of you; aviation related activities are not covered (this is not a change for 2018, they have always been in the 'exclusion' section of the fine print). That's a big negative for me since my piloting skills are still being developed. Finally, I turn 50 this year and DW turns 50 next year. So I'm thinking our ACA plan pricing is going WAY up. I don't know for sure yet, but not looking forward to open enrollment.

Overall, very disappointed that our political leaders are not able to do better with this legislation. The ACA was a factor in my decision to FIRE in the first place since it provided some assurance for health care in case things get bad with our health. I'll probably go with an ACA plan for 2018, but curious to see what others plan to do.
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:43 PM   #25
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I agree that this is grossly unfair, especially since those getting this break tend to be in a better economic position that people that have to buy off the open market.
Yeah, the employed vs. unemployed/self-employed disparity is so bad it's not funny - employees all benefit from cheaper HC premiums (varies by employer of course) regardless of income. But anyone on ACA above 400% of FPL basically gets screwed, and the subsidies between 250% and 400% are generally way less than if you were working (adding in tax bennies).

At least the self-employed get to write off premiums, but if you're above 400% FPL you could be spending a lot of money on them.
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Old 09-30-2017, 03:45 PM   #26
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And do you have to pay the ACA tax penalty since you don't have an ACA compliant plan?
The range of incomes for which no 'shared responsibility payment' is due because the ACA-compliant plans available are deemed unaffordable according to the law's own definition of affordability is expanding with each passing year. The exact income range depends upon your location. For those of us whose self-employment incomes vary widely from one year to the next due to factors out of our control, trying to factor the Obamacare tax into financial planning is dang-near impossible. If I have to pay it for 2017; well, tough luck.
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