Putting an Old Rumor to Rest

Today, the Internal Revenue Service issued a sample W-2 form for 2011. The form looks just like the W-2 you have received in years past, with one important new piece of information. Beginning in 2011, employers will have the option of including the value of the health care benefits that you have received on your W-2 so you can know more about your benefits and you are an empowered consumer. In 2012, all employers who provide insurance will be required to include this information on their workers’ W-2 forms.

And because this has been the subject of rumors, let’s be clear: you will absolutely not pay taxes on these benefits. Here’s the text, straight from the new W-2 form:

Cost of employer-sponsored health coverage (if provided by the employer). The reporting in Box 12, using Code DD, of the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage is for information only. The amount reported with Code DD is not taxable.

For months, opponents of health reform have falsely claimed that the Affordable Care Act would lead to the taxation of health care benefits. The claim wasn’t true when the rumor first surfaced, it isn’t true today and it won’t be true tomorrow.

What is true is that the Affordable Care Act will strengthen the health care system for all Americans, end the worst insurance company abuses and put patients and doctors – not insurance companies – in control of their own care. In the last month, we’ve implemented a new Patients’ Bill of Rights that will protect consumers. Under the new law:

  • All insurance plans will be prohibited from putting lifetime caps on the dollar amount that they will spend on benefits, like cancer treatment, or canceling, or rescinding your coverage because you get sick, or you made an unintentional mistake on your application.
  • Young adults will be allowed to remain on their parent’s plan until their 26th birthday, unless they are offered coverage at work.
  • Most insurance companies will have restrictions on their ability to place annual limits on care.
  • New rules will prevent most insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to a pre-existing condition.
  • And if you purchase or join a new plan:
    • Insurance companies must cover recommended preventive services, including mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, pre-natal and new baby care without charging deductibles, co-payments or co-insurance.
    • Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage for needed care without a chance to appeal to an independent third party.
    • You will be guaranteed your choice of primary care provider within your plan’s network of doctors, including OB-GYNs and pediatricians, without a referral, as well as out-of-network emergency care.

You can learn more about these new benefits, the myths and facts about the Affordable Care Act and read personal stories from Americans across the country who are benefitting from the new law by visiting www.WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform.