By Kevin Counihan, CMS Director & Marketplace Chief Executive Officer
For most Americans, April 15 marked the end of this year’s tax season. For others, including those who have yet to file because they requested an extension, tax season is not yet complete. At CMS we work throughout the year to reach out to consumers and help them understand the ways in which their taxes and health care intersect.
The 2014 tax filing season was the first time people included information about their health insurance when they filed their taxes. For most people – if you had health coverage through your employer or through Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans care – this was as simple as checking a box to indicate that you had coverage for all of 2014. If you couldn’t afford coverage or met other conditions and received an exemption from the requirement to have health insurance, you noted that when you filed your 2014 income taxes.
If you had coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and benefited from advance payments of a tax credit to help make your coverage more affordable, the steps you took were a little different. You should have received a statement in the mail from the Marketplace called a Form 1095-A. This statement included important information you needed to determine the final premium tax credit you were eligible for when you completed and filed your tax return.
We know that most Marketplace consumers who used tax credits filed their taxes, but that there are some consumers who have yet to file because they asked for an extension or were not able to file for some other reason. We also know there are Marketplace consumers who forgot to use the information provided on their Form 1095-A to reconcile their tax credits when they originally filed their federal income taxes for 2014, or were first time tax filers less familiar with the tax filing process. Additionally, we continue to process requests for corrected and reprinted forms as they are received.
If you’re one of these consumers, it’s important for you to know that there is still time, but you need to take action soon. If you do not file a tax return and reconcile the tax credits you received last year, you will lose the opportunity to continue to receive tax credits to help lower the cost of your health insurance when you renew your coverage for 2016.
We know tax credits are important. During our last open enrollment season, 85 percent of Marketplace consumers received an average tax credit of $272 per month, which helped make quality health coverage affordable and accessible for millions of American families. It’s important to us that all Marketplace consumers reconcile the advance payments of the tax credit they received when they file their income taxes so that they’re able to continue receiving the financial support they need to keep their coverage affordable in the future.
If you still need to file your taxes or reconcile the premium tax credit you received, the first step you should take is locating your Form 1095-A. The good news is that if you lost or no longer have the form we mailed you in the spring, you should be able to easily find your Form 1095-A by logging into your Marketplace Account. Visit the HealthCare.gov website for step-by-step instructions on how to track down the information you need.
The Marketplace Call Center is also a helpful resource. If you can’t find your Form 1095-A online, you should call the Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.
We understand that including information about your health insurance on your taxes and reconciling advance payments of premium tax credits is a new experience for many of you. We are committed to providing the information and support you need to understand the steps you need to take.
This article was originally published on The CMS Blog and is republished here with permission.