TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Health Care / Do VA Benefits Count as Medical Insurance Coverage Under Obamacare?

Do VA Benefits Count as Medical Insurance Coverage Under Obamacare?

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare or the ACA, requires most Americans to have health insurance coverage. Those without coverage must pay a penalty when they file their taxes. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA health benefits count as medical coverage under the ACA.


Minimum essential coverage

The ACA is built around a requirement that everyone either obtain health insurance or qualify for an exemption from the law. Otherwise, a penalty applies, due when you pay your income taxes. The law requires that health plans provide a certain basic level of care, referred to as minimum essential coverage. So long as your health plan provides this level of care, you're all set and meet the requirements of Obamacare.

do va benefits count as insurance under obamacare

VA coverage that qualifies

The Department of Veterans Affairs says that your benefits meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act if you are enrolled in one of the following programs:

  • The standard veterans' health care program
  • The Civilian Health and Medical Program, commonly called CHAMPVA, covers certain spouses and children of service members
  • VA Spina Bifida Health Care Program covers certain veterans' children who are living with spina bifida
  • The Tricare program for active-duty service members and their families also meet the standards of the law

Enrollees in these programs will not have to pay the penalty fee when filing their taxes, because these plans meet the minimum essential coverage requirement.

No further action required

Veterans and others receiving qualifying VA health benefits do not have to do anything further to comply with the law. The Affordable Care Act requires health insurers and other coverage sources, including the VA, to provide policyholders or beneficiaries with any documentation needed for reporting their coverage when filing their taxes.

Other ways to qualify for minimum essential coverage

Veterans and their families who aren't enrolled in a VA-backed health plan may still have qualifying coverage. Nearly all employer-sponsored health plans meet the Affordable Care Act's standards for minimum essential coverage, as do government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Coverage purchased through the online exchanges set up under ACA also qualify, as do many individual policies bought directly from insurers. Your plan provider can tell you whether your coverage qualifies.

Finally, you may be able to avoid paying a fee with your taxes if you qualify for an exemption to the coverage requirement. Exemptions are allowed for, among other things, people with one of the following:

  • Incomes below the tax-filing minimum
  • People who can't find affordable coverage
  • Members of federally-recognized Indian tribes
  • People who go without coverage for less than three months
  • People with religious objections to any health insurance

Not sure if you are exempt from the tax penalty or from the requirement to purchase health insurance? The TurboTax Exemption Check, is a free, online tool to help determine whether you might be eligible to waive the tax penalty entirely and apply for a health care exemption.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99$34.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Bonus Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 federal return with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/17 and receive a complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18 at no additional cost. After you file your taxes, you must activate your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 7/15/2017 by logging into QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/login. Once activated, you will have access to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/2018.
    Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/30/2018, your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription will automatically renew on 5/1/2018 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed Expense Finder: Available only in TurboTax Self-Employed. Not available for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Some financial institutions limit the timeframe for which historical transactions may be imported by ExpenseFinder. ExpenseFinder expected late January (late February for mobile app).
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.