Obamacare

Another Obamacare Clown Car Crash: 800,000 Given Wrong Tax Info

Good luck with that paperwork, folks!

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A job well done.
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Yesterday, J.D. Tuccille highlighted the despair-inducing, complicated Form 8962, the new tax form recipients of Affordable Care Act subsidies must fill out to document what they've received for the past year. He noted that these recipients are likely to be low income and not have a whole lot of experience filling out such complicated tax documents.

But the federal government is here to help them! No, wait. No, it's not. The federal government has made the problem even worse! The feds sent 800,000 of these insurance customers the wrong information about how much money they've received from their advance subsidies. So no matter their math proficiency, if they try to fill out that form, they're going to get it wrong. The Associated Press explains:

The errors disclosed Friday are in new forms that HealthCare.gov sent to millions of consumers receiving coverage through the federal insurance market that serves most states. Those forms, called 1095-As, are like a W-2 for health care. They provided a month-by-month accounting of the subsidies consumers received to help pay their premiums. That information is then used to make sure everybody got the right amount, not too much, or too little.

Andy Slavitt, a top administration official overseeing federal health insurance programs, said the administration is still investigating the root cause of the problem. Slavitt said it had to do with erroneous calculations of a "benchmark" premium that is used to help determine the amount of subsidies that individuals receive.

It's unclear how the error would affect consumers, Slavitt said. He said it's a mix of people who would have gotten too much assistance with their premiums, or too little.

Slavitt said the administration started notifying the affected consumers today. He urged them to wait to file their taxes until they receive corrected forms.

Unfortunately, an estimated 50,000 people who got the wrong information have already filed their tax forms for 2014. They will be getting "special instructions" from the Treasury Department. And a similar error happened with California's own state-run insurance market, affecting another 100,000.

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  1. Andy Slavitt, a top administration official overseeing federal health insurance programs, said the administration is still investigating the root cause of the problem.

    Permit me: Fuck off, Slavitt.

    1. Something tells me they will find plenty of shallow-rooted scapegoats and stop digging plenty quick. Plenty quick!!!

      1. Is it hard to raise shallow rooted scapgoats? It seems like an emerging market.

      2. I suspect a crashed hard drive that has since been recycled might well be at fault.

    2. :clappy hands:

  2. GIFS ON HIT AND RUN!!?!?!?!?!??!! And alt text?!

    It’s like my birthday!

    Also, all this was expected.

    1. Shack raisinh the bar!!

      1. Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

        1. Temba, his arms wide.

        2. GIFs and alt text at H&R.

            1. Shaquille O’Neal,the walls fell.

            2. Fist of Etiquette, when the commenting system fell.

              1. The Squirrels, teeth bared, tails raised.

  3. Math is hard. Let’s go governing.

    1. If only there were more free community colleges available to the public, we could solve this math problem together.

      1. That, and if we gave more money to America’s woefully underfunded public schools and the Department of Education.

        1. Of course- that is always understood.

  4. What do you expect from a cabal of idiots that couldn’t run a gas station successfully?

    1. Worse, it was the only station for 100 miles!

    2. Oh please, they could too run a gas station — right out of existence! They pollute, they encourage individual car ownership and flight from cities and contribute to urban sprawl.

  5. the administration is still investigating the root cause of the problem

    /Places $20 bet on garden variety incompetence

    1. yes, but you will never collect because that won’t be the “official” cause.

      1. It’s only partially true anyway. It’s a combination of GVI and systemic malfeasance.

      2. Think the Clown ‘quietly’ extended enrollment period from February 20th this year to April 30th last night.

        In other words, they punted the penalties one more year. The donks know they’re in a race to get voters on the dole vis-a-vis the voters cutting checks.

    2. Nah.

      Computer glitch, insufficient training, or insufficient funding.

      1. “We have discover that using Packard Bell 386s is not a cost-effective strategy for running an national insurance exchange.”

    3. Let me help.

      (takes deep breath)

      Free markets obstructionist House Republicans Bush we should have moved straight to single payer.

      1. Free markets obstructionist House Republicans Bush we should have moved straight to single payer.

        Missing some talking points there:

        Free markets insurance companies obstructionist House Republicans racists Bush Islamophobia we should have moved straight to single payer carbon dioxide.

        Ahhh, better.

      2. I think you misspelled that sixth word in your root cause.

        It’s BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!!!!!!!!!

    4. I imagine it’s like a magnetic thing where the point of their nose repels their finder or something.

      Also, forget math, they’re bad at *bad* management. A good bad manager would tend to his flock of scapegoats so, when the shit hit the fan, he could toss one under the bus. Slavitt seems to have turned around and found all of his scapegoats missing.

      1. Finger. The point of their nose repels their finger.

        1. Or their ass repels both hands, even when using a map?

  6. Despite that these problems keep coming up, and seem to be getting worse, they are all just minor glitches that you’d expect when rolling out something so awesome and powerful. Let’s not allow this malicious reporting to detract from the fact that an overwhelming 8% of people love this law and everything about it.

  7. I’m decidedly middle class and have done my own taxes for years, including the self-employed worksheets. Tax forms are fucking easy to fill out. They even give you step by step instructions and numbers you can call. Unless you’re trying to get every credit and deduction in the book.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just good at math.

    *sld: just cause they’re easy doesn’t mean I like it.

    1. I don’t know, maybe I’m just good at math.

      I have a discussion with Mrs. Rich occasionally: “This shit is *not* math.”

    2. They’re easy if you just have wage income and basic deductions, and aren’t subject to AMT or get things like EITC. If you have any non-wage/non-interest income, like capital gains, dividends, business income, etc. or have to deal with things like the AMT or EITC (and now the ACA credits), they get complicated real fast.

      1. Part of the complication is that the laws are written by idiots and there is no way to take the 1,000 page law and turn it into 3 sentences of easy-to-follow instructions. Dealing with foreign tax paid and royalty income is maddening.

    3. Unless you’re trying to get every credit and deduction in the book.

      You caught that this would happen mostly to poorer people who were getting various tax benefits and subsidies, right? 😉

      1. I did, that’s why I included that sentence.

    4. Tax forms are fucking easy to fill out. They even give you step by step instructions and numbers you can call

      I used to think that, then I started making money from more sources, and realized I was wasting too much valuabel time dealing with the sorts of crap I dislike about my day job. It wasn’t worth the time and effort, so I bought a copy of TurboTax at the appropriate tier and mellowed out immediately.

      However, when I was poor, the tought of dropping money on tax software struck me as extra-wrong for the same BS reason you gave. At the time, tax forms were easy. But take someone who had been filing a 1040A for years and dump them into a situation with a mire of new forms and conditionals and schedules, they’re going to mess it up.

      Plus, those phone numbers – no one is answering this year.

      1. My wife literally just got of the phone with the IRS. She waited on hold for 2 hours.

        1. I would not have the patience to wait on hold for two hours. Not for tax questions.

          1. She’s an accountant. She does this shit for her clients on a daily basis.

        2. And did their help satisfy her?

          1. Yes. We needed a Tax ID # for a new LLC we set up. Two hours on hold, completed transaction in 5 minutes.

      2. TurboTax has a free online version for people with simple filing needs. I use it to check and make sure I’ve done everything right.

        I totally agree that once you start getting past regular income into business and investment incomes and all that fun stuff it probably gets a lot more complicated.

        Of course most of the people (myself included) getting insurance subsidies don’t have all of that extra paper work.

    5. After I got a few investment accounts, I just gave up. And I’m not calling the IRS where hold times average several hours, and their advice is wrong over half the time.

      1. Hey, I didn’t say it would be helpful, just that there were numbers.

      2. You know what really doesn’t help? When one of your investment firms sends one 1099 on time, and a second 1099 with thousands of dollars of taxable income 2.5 weeks late!

        I get to fill my 1040x out by hand! Yay!

        (Fuck the IRS for not allowing us to e-file amendments)

  8. Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 5, Episode 13 “The Masterpiece Society”

    1. Well done, sir. Your nerd credentials are bona fide.

    1. … is no longer deductible.

  9. Unfortunately, an estimated 50,000 people who got the wrong information have already filed their tax forms for 2014. They will be getting “special instructions” from the Treasury Department.

    Scott, I hope you can post a copy (redacted, of course) of these “instructions”, which I imagine will be hilarious.

  10. I’ll bet that the “special instructions” will include a bunch of nice threats of ruinous fines if the updated information returned is not on time or correct.

    That is always a nice touch.

  11. even if they give the right info, it’s still a nightmare if you can’t predict exactly what you will make in a given year.

  12. Lower income people’s taxes are actually some of the most complicated, even before the ACA. The best example of that is the EITC, which has a nightmarishly complicated formula. But they are also eligible for a number of other credits. Most are fairly simple, but not all, and together take a lot of time to do.

  13. “He urged them to wait to file their taxes until they receive corrected forms.”
    People who get insurance on the exchanges tend to be low income people. Low income people, especially those with children, tend to get a lot of money relative to their income from the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit. People who are getting big checks tend to file as soon as they possibly can. The bulk of EIC recipients file by the second week of February. So……TOO FREAKING LATE!!

    1. OH, plus…most of them have no idea that they’re getting this form, have even less of an idea what to do with it and have a real good chance of losing or tossing the damned thing because they don’t see how it can increase their “refund”.

    2. I am always amazed at how many people are filing well before I even get my W-2 from my work.

  14. And a similar error happened with California’s own state-run insurance market, affecting another 100,000.

    Can we stop calling it a market yet?

    1. A soviet grocery store was still a market, even if it wasn’t free (to be competed against) and there wasn’t any choice of product.

    2. State-run market. There’s some doublethink for ya.

  15. OT self back patting:

    Passed the last exam to get my ARe designation. MOAR CREDENTIALS MEANS I AM WICKED SMAHT!

  16. I listened to part of the Campaigner-in-Chief’s address to the DNC, this morning. He seemed to be claiming his Presidency has been an unmitigated triumph.

    He must have mentioned this after I changed the channel.

  17. the administration is still investigating the root cause of the problem.

    Once we have ferreted out the counterrevolutionary saboteurs responsible for this despicable assault on Big Mother, our glorious five year plan for Equality and Justice will bear fruit.

  18. No biggie, this error only applied to 8% of those who received subsidies.

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