The Covered California agent service representative said I was about the fifth agent he worked with to identify the missing dependent tax status question. He could see the question in his system, but I couldn’t see the question on my client application. When he indicated that Debbie was to be claimed as a dependent of Susan, the APTC monthly subsidy was awarded.
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.
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.