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ABCs of healthcare reporting (01-13-2016)

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Once again you'll be asked to verify if you and your tax household had minimum essential health coverage through the year. But new this year is an alphabet of forms! Fortunately, most people will not need these forms to do their taxes. Why is that fortunate? Well, this year some of these forms may be arriving well into tax filing season.

This year's healthcare forms are 1095-A, 1095-B and 1095-C.

Let's go through them one at a time.

1095-A.This is issued to those who purchased marketplace health insurance. These come from the state or federal marketplace and are used to reconcile the estimated Advance Payment of the Premium Tax Credit (APTC). Form 1095-A's were used for filing 2014 taxes and are expected to come out in January. If you received assistance to purchase marketplace insurance, you need to have a 1095-A before you file your taxes. Failing to have your form 1095-A, and/or not completing the related form 8962 with your tax return, could cause a significant delay in receiving your refund. Also, failing to file a tax return after receiving APTC can result in not receiving any healthcare credits next year.

And, as happened last year, if your income is more than was projected, you should expect to pay back some APTC. If your income is less than projected, you should see additional premium tax credit included in your refund.

1095-B.This will be issued to those who have minimum essential coverage health insurance directly from health insurance companies, or through employer or government sponsored plans. These forms are required to be filed by the end of March. Fortunately, they aren't needed to complete your tax return. If you had minimum essential healthcare coverage through the year, all you need to do is check the appropriate box. However, these forms verify that you had acceptable coverage and for that reason you should retain the form with your tax records.

1095-C.This shows coverage from employer-sponsored self-insured coverage. Like the form 1095-B, these forms are required to be filed by the end of March. For most people, that is not a problem. However, if you purchased insurance through the marketplace and you received assistance (APTC) because your employer-sponsored self-insurance plan was considered unaffordable, you will need to have this form to complete your taxes.

What if I didn't have health insurance in 2015?

The shared responsibility payment is greater for 2015, but there are several exemptions. Exemptions include low income people living in a state, such as Maine, which did not expand Medicaid, a short period of non-coverage and health insurance being unaffordable. There are 16 categories of exemptions, some of which have multiple sub-categories. Many of these exemptions can be requested on your tax return, others require an exemption through the marketplace. For details, look at the instructions for form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions.

Not quite as simple as ABC, but with some guidance, you'll do fine.

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