Could H&R Block Win Under Obamacare?

Friday, 22 Mar 2013 07:37 AM

By Michael Carr

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The Affordable Care Act has probably delivered more surprises after it became law than any other Congressional action in the history of the nation. There will undoubtedly be additional surprises as the provisions of the law actually take effect. Each surprise will have winners and losers, and tax preparation companies are likely to be winners.

Before applying for health insurance next year, Americans will first need to complete a 21-page form to determine if they are eligible for subsidies. Insurance premiums will be so expensive that many families will need assistance and neither insurance nor this form will be optional.

The form has the look and feel of a tax form and many consumers will treat it as a tax form. According to MSN, “Because the tax code is so complicated, more than 90 percent of Americans have professionals do their tax returns or rely on computer tax programs.”

Tax preparation is a $6 billion industry, according to some reports. It seems logical to expect a similar industry to form for health insurance.

Health insurance agents would be well-suited to fill this niche, but the insurer will not be making a sale until after the subsidy level is determined. The 21-page form is the first step of the process and benefits only the consumer so insurance companies will probably not step into the void.

Obamacare proponents are calling for thousands of navigators to be hired so they can assist consumers. That would require tax dollars and the current political stalemate makes it unlikely the money will be provided for a new army of bureaucrats.

Tax preparation companies have the expertise to develop software and open offices to navigate the healthcare subsidy maze. They may be uniquely positioned to find profits and make healthcare even less affordable.

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

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