In 2015, maybe you...thought you had health care, but you didn't
...you missed open enrollment on the Marketplace
...you lost your job and didn't realize you could apply for Medicaid or the Marketplace
...you thought health care would be too expensive.
Now, you're doing your taxes, and you realize that you should have had health coverage, and since you didn't, you might need to pay a penalty! The penalty for 2015 could be as much as 2% of your income.
1. Before you panic, take a look at your whole family, and each person individually, to see if all or part of your family qualifies for a tax exemption.
If anyone does qualify for an exemption, you will need to fill out IRS form 8965.
2. The IRS has some excellent resources.
- The instructions for Form 8965 have a nice list of exemptions.
- You can also run through a nice little "quiz" that asks you some questions and guides you to possible exemptions.
- Here is a simple list of exemptions (scroll down), and it tells you whether you get this exemption through the IRS or the Marketplace. Although most exemptions are given by the IRS, some need to be applied for through the Marketplace.
If you got a Marketplace exemption, you will get a letter with an Exemption Certificate Number. [Can't find your letter? Log into your account on healthcare.gov and download it again.] If you have an IRS exemption, you just fill it in on Form 8965.
Common reasons for exemptions:
- The insurance you were offered was unaffordable
- You only missed coverage for a couple of months
- You are a member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe.
Less common reasons for exemptions:
- Someone in your house was out of the country for several months
- Someone in your household is not documented
- You had a special hardship, such as an eviction.
And while you are doing your taxes, think about the implications for next year. If during the next year, you get married...divorced...get a new job...lose a job...have a baby...move...graduate from college...it would be prudent to get a health care check-up! That would be a good time to visit the Washtenaw Health Plan or get some other health insurance help!