As of January 1, 2014 every U.S. Citizen must have health insurance or risk facing a new health tax penalty (also referred to as the “shared responsibility payment”) when filing income taxes. If you or your family does not have health insurance benefits, the Affordable Care Act law could affect you. In an effort to keep you from having to pay additional income taxes, if you are an uninsured Native American you may need to take immediate action.
You will not have to do anything today IF:
· You are not going to file a federal income tax return because your income is below the filing threshold,
· If you currently have health insurance coverage such as Medicaid, Medicare, VA, employer-sponsored insurance or insurance through a Marketplace plan.
If you do not meet one of the exceptions above, you will need to apply for a Native American/Alaska Native Exemption to prevent the IRS from deducting the new health tax penalty from any federal tax refund you might be expecting. This health tax penalty will apply to everyone in the tax household that is uninsured. For 2014 the penalty per uninsured person is $95.00 or 1% of the annual income (whichever is greater). This penalty amount will be increasing each year.
The Application for Exemption for American Indians and Alaska Natives form can be downloaded from the Marketplace Web site at:
If you do not have internet access, you can visit any one of the Choctaw Nation health care facilities and pick up a copy of this form.
You may also want to visit with a Benefit Coordinator or Certified Application Counselor (CAC) (located at any Choctaw Nation health care facility) to see if you or your family could qualify for “free health care” through SoonerCare or purchase affordable health care through one of the many Marketplace insurance plans. Choctaw Nation staff has helped several Tribal members enroll in the new Marketplace insurance and have seen some family’s get an immediate tax credit that lowered the insurance premiums to $1.12 a month!
What do I do if I chose to remain without insurance?
· Complete the Exemption form as soon as possible so you and/or your family can be considered exempt.
· You only need one application for a tax household, but you will need to make additional copies of Step 2 to include any additional individuals in the home. As an example, an individual filing single would complete one application form. A married couple with two minor children would complete one application for the tax household PLUS make additional copies of the Step 2 section and complete this page for any uninsured Native American in the household. Complete Step two for the father, the mother and one for each of the two children.
· After completing the application, sign and date it and mail along with your supporting documents to the address provided in Step 4.
Health Insurance Marketplace – Exemption Processing
465 Industrial Blvd.
London, KY 40741
· You will need to make copies of your supporting documentation to send with the application. DO NOT SEND YOUR ORIGINALS. If you are a Native American and a member of a federally recognized tribe you will need to send in a copy of your Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) card and a copy of your tribal membership card.
· After you have submitted the exemption form, you will receive an Exemption letter in the mail that will include an Exemption ID number. This number will be used when filing your federal income tax return, letting the IRS know you are exempt from the health tax penalty (shared responsibility payment). The exemption will be good for future years, and another application will not have to be submitted. Make sure to keep this letter with your other important documents, the ID number will be needed for future tax filing purposes.
Some Native Americans may not have a CDIB or tribal membership. If so, you may need to file for a hardship exemption which can be done by using the same application. The supporting documentation will be different, depending on each individual’s circumstances. Supporting documents for the hardship exemption might include (not all-inclusive): birth certificate, descent letter, tribal document acknowledging membership, CDIB card, adoption papers, letter on facility letterhead with an official signature from the Indian Health Service, tribal or urban Indian health care provider verifying eligibility for services, proof of pregnancy from non-Native American that is eligible to be seen in an Indian Health Service, tribal or urban Indian health care facility.
Don’t wait! If you are uninsured, take a minute to complete the exemption form for you or your family so you will not be hit with additional taxes when filing your federal tax return. If you have questions or need assistance you can visit with a Benefit Coordinator or Certified Application Counselor (CAC) at any one of the health care facilities OR you may call (800) 349-7026.