Watch for tax forms for health insurance

Patricia Hafermann • Benefit Specialist

Do you know if you received “minimum essential coverage” in 2017? Minimum essential coverage (also called “qualifying health coverage”) meets the

Affordable Care Act requirement of having health coverage. If you had minimum essential coverage in 2017, you do not have to pay a tax penalty, but you must still prove to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) that you had the right kind of health coverage to avoid paying a fine.

In order to prove to the IRS that you had the right kind of health coverage last year, you will have to do one of three things:

1. If you receive coverage from BadgerCare Plus or Medicaid for the Elderly, Blind, or Disabled in Wisconsin, then DHS (the Department of Health Services) will mail your form 1095-B by early February, 2018, and you must fill it out and send it in to the IRS.

2. If you need to file a tax return for 2017, you must check the correct box regarding your health insurance.

3. If you don’t file a tax return for 2017 and don’t receive a form from DHS, you must obtain the form and fill it out, and return it to the IRS.

There are other types of coverage considered minimum essential coverage, including the following:

• Any health plan bought through the Health Insurance Marketplace;

• Any “grandfathered” individual insurance plan you’ve had since March 23, 2010 or earlier;

• Any job-based plan, including retiree plans and COBRA;

• Medicare Part A or Part C (but Part B coverage by itself doesn’t qualify);

• Certain types of Veterans health coverage; and

• Most TRICARE plans.

Vision care or dental care alone, workers’ compensation, coverage only for a specific disease or condition, or plans that offer only discounts on medical services are not considered minimum essential coverage.

If you’re unsure if your health coverage will keep you from paying the penalty, you can always contact your plan. Plans are required to send you proof annually regarding your coverage status, as well as any time you request it.

If you receive a form in the mail and have questions, you can call the Wisconsin assistance line at 1-866-667-9419.

If you have any additional questions, you may call Pat Hafermann, Elderly Benefits Specialist with the Aging and Disability Resource Center at (920) 467-4076.

Sources: Published with permission from the Legal Services Team at the Greater Wisconsin

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