The cost of health care continues to escalate faster than the rate of inflation. Insurance premium increases at double-digit rates are not uncommon, and, in many cases, employer coverage is declining. The historic health care reform package comprised of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 will dramatically overhaul health care in the United States over the next decade. Unless repealed or declared unconstitutional starting in 2014, almost everyone will have to carry health insurance—through employer coverage or self-pay—or owe a penalty tax. And there are other changes to various health care rules scheduled to take effect in the coming years, as you'll see throughout this chapter.1.
Fortunately, the tax law provides you with some relief now by allowing you to treat your medical expenses in special tax-advantaged ways.
This chapter covers: