31,493 tax returns – programming errors caused the IRS to incorrectly compute the allowable PTC amount. As a result, 16,375 taxpayers potentially received approximately $5.2 million more in the PTC than they were entitled to receive, and 15,118 returns potentially received approximately $6.7 million less in the PTC than they were entitled to receive. IRS management informed us that programing was updated on or before July 31, 2016. We will evaluate the IRS’s corrective action in our annual assessment of the 2017 Filing Season.
Consumers who purchased health insurance through Covered California may be receiving revised 2016 1095-As without requesting one. The revised 1095-As are popping up in consumer’s Covered California accounts and being mailed to them. Consumers should carefully compare the original 1095-A sent out by Covered California to the revised document to make sure it is correct.
Some individuals and families who purchased their health insurance through a government exchange like Healthcare.gov or Covered California may be subject to the Penalty for Underpayment of Estimated Tax. The underpayment penalty is triggered when the federal income tax due is less than 90% of the previous year’s tax liability. If a tax household received thousands of dollars of the monthly Advance Premium Tax Credit (APTC) subsidy to lower their health insurance premiums, but earned too much taxable income to actually qualify for the Premium Tax Credit, the tax payer has to repay the entire subsidy. This repayment amount could easily trigger the underpayment penalty.
While Covered California does a great job of marketing their services as an individual and family health insurance marketplace, the ultimate connection of reporting health insurance coverage to the IRS is not a central part of Covered California consumer education.
The implementation of Obamacare requires it to be administered by a variety of federal, state, and local government bureaucracies. Many consumers have been caught in a swirl of seemingly conflicting and utterly confusing rules, advice, and government forms. This cauldron of Obamacare confusion is particularly acute among individuals over 55 years old who are subject to California’s Medi-Cal Estate Recovery program. The anxiety instilled in this population is compounded by conflicting IRS 1095 forms that seem to open the door to a large tax bill for the repayment of the premium subsidies they received during the year.
Built into the Affordable Care Act is the loss of the health insurance subsidy when the household income exceeds 400% of the federal poverty line. For older adults whose income might be greater than 400% of the federal poverty line they face losing the Advance Premium Tax Credits that makes their health insurance premiums affordable. In some instances the health insurance premiums can shoot up to over 20% of their income.
All individuals and households who had health insurance during 2015 will receive a Form 1095-x. How you received your health insurance will determine who sends the 1095-x to you. You may receive different 1095s based on whether you had Medicaid, private health insurance purchased through a Marketplace exchange like Covered California, or through employer based health insurance plan. Each of the 1095s will be appended with a different letter ( -A, -B, -C) depending on the issuer of the form.
Even those people who hate Obamacare come running to it when they need help. A person who contacted me to clarify that he could enroll in an Obamacare plan because his Christian health care sharing ministry wouldn’t cover pre-existing conditions shows how people use these sharing ministries to dodge Obamacare and reveal their hypocrisy when they do need real health insurance.
The formula for determining how much premium assistance, also known as the Affordable Care Act premium tax credits (PTC), to lower your monthly health bill is complicated. At its core the formula uses the inputs of your age, MAGI, a special contribution percentage and the annual cost of the Second Lowest Cost Silver Plan. Plugged into the formula, these inputs determine if any Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC) will be awarded to reduce your health insurance premium. Some people are surprised to learn they don’t qualify for any APTC even though their MAGI is below 400% of the federal poverty level.
Covered California is cancelling the Advance Premium Tax Credit subsidy that lowers a household’s monthly health insurance premium for 2016 for some consumers. Through Covered California’s automatic renewal process I’ve seen several families’ tax credits disappear for 2016. Without intervention or explanation, many families who had their health insurance automatically renewed may receive a bill for the full premium amount because the tax credit subsidy was eliminated by Covered California.