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Health Reform, Your Taxes and the Rumor Mill

Debunking another bogus chain email about health reform, this one about your taxes.

As the Administration works to implement the Affordable Care Act, it is critically important to ensure that consumers across the country have accurate information about their new rights and benefits under the new health insurance law.  Throughout the Congressional debate on health reform, Americans were bombarded by the opponents of reform with rumors, misinformation and false claims.  Unfortunately, those efforts persist.  

For example, there is now an email circulating with false information about the W2 form.  The email states that because consumers will now see the value of their employer provided health care on their W2 form, their taxes will go up.  Here’s what part of it claims:

“Starting in 2011 (next year folks) your W 2 tax form sent by your employer will be increased to show the value of what ever health insurance you are given by the company. It does not matter if that's a private concern or governmental body of some sort. If you're retired? So what; your gross will go up by the amount of insurance you get.  You will be required to pay taxes on a large sum of money that you have never seen.  Take your tax form you just finished and see what $15,000 or $20,000 additional gross does to your tax debt. That's what you'll pay next year. For many it also puts you into a new higher bracket so it's even worse.  This is how the government is going to buy insurance for the 15% that don't have insurance and it's only part of the tax increases.”

Don’t believe it. This claim is simply false.

Here are the facts: Next year, your W2 form will only change to show the value of the health care benefits that you have received so you can know more about your benefits and you are an empowered consumer, but you will absolutely not pay taxes on these benefits.

Throughout this year and the coming years, we will work with Congress, states and all other stakeholders to ensure consumers get accurate information on the Affordable Care Act so that they can take advantage of the new cost savings, benefits, insurance reforms as well as the affordable private insurance choices available to them. 

Be sure to get the facts. You can learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how it affects you and your community here and check the White House blog for more information about the new law in the days and weeks ahead.

Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President for Special Projects