Massachusetts tax forms will require filers to prove they have health insurance

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (our local version of the IRS) has posted new health insurance-related tax forms, which income tax filers in Massachusetts will have to complete. Those who have health insurance have to fill in only one page of Schedule HC: Health Care Information , which is very straightforward. Those with private insurance simply list their insurance company and its tax ID number. The tax ID number will be contained on a separate MA 1099-HC, which insurance carriers will provide to their subscribers. The 1099 will also include insurance information for each dependent, including subscriber number and dates of coverage. Filers with government subsidized health insurance just need to fill in an oval next to the appropriate program, e.g., Medicare, VA and write in the name of their insurance carrier or program.

Those without insurance have to jump through some more hoops. Claiming a religious exemption is straightforward. Filers must affirm that they are “claiming an exemption from the requirement to purchase health insurance based on [their] sincerely held religious beliefs.” However, if they received medical care in 2007 they are denied the exemption.
Those claiming financial hardship (remember the law says you’re only required to buy insurance if it’s affordable) must provide their Certificate of Exemption number, issued by the Commonwealth Connector. Applications for a Certificate of Exemption must  be filed with the Connector by December 31, 2007. Anyone without a certificate can still claim an exemption based on affordability by completing a worksheet in the instruction booklet and –even if the affordability provisions don’t get them off the hook– can appeal on hardship grounds.  Hardships include homelessness, fires and floods, and similar issues. Interestingly, having high medical bills is also grounds for appeal.

All of this is a little complex, and that may just be the nature of income tax filings. There is also a potential Catch-22 in all of this: Anyone who can successfully navigate the affordability worksheet and fill out all these forms correctly probably has the ability to get a job that pays enough to disqualify them from the exemption.

The Department of Revenue has a Health Care Information website, which contains all the forms, FAQs and an overview of the filing requirements.

December 14, 2007

One thought on “Massachusetts tax forms will require filers to prove they have health insurance”

  1. It will give the state a way to follow-up on people who don’t comply.

    For all but the bravest of us threatening letters from the government can get action started.

    Has the state devoted any resources to following up on compliance? Dumping it back on an already overburdened social service agency is probably not going to be very effective.

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