Did You Help Someone Get Financial Help to Get Covered? Here’s How They Can Avoid Surprises at Tax Time

By Zachary Baron

We know that financial help remains incredibly important for marketplace enrollees, as more than 4 in 5 receive advance payments of the premium tax credit to reduce their monthly premium payment. That’s why it’s so crucial for people who are getting financial help to take certain steps to get the right amount and stay covered. Consumers must make sure to report income and other changes during the year, file their taxes, and reconcile their tax credit. If they don’t take action, they will be unable to continue receiving a tax credit in future years.

See the graphic below for steps that consumers receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit should take to best set themselves up to get covered and stay covered.

EA_issue-brief_tax_figure-2

The enrollment community, particularly in-person assisters, is uniquely positioned to help consumers navigate the new intersections between filing taxes and enrolling in and retaining health coverage with financial help. At a minimum, enrollment leaders should:

  • Encourage Reporting of Income and Other Changes: Emphasize the importance of reporting income and other household changes to the marketplace in a timely manner to minimize surprises at tax time.
    • At the same time, secure consumer consent to follow up with them (by phone, email, and/or text) throughout the coverage year to make sure they have the support they need.
  • Set Expectations: Discuss the significance of completing the right tax forms with every enrollee, including the obstacles consumers who fail to do so will face when it’s time to re-enroll, and how they can update their income estimate with the marketplace based on the household income they list on their tax return.
  • Build More Extensive Relationships With Tax Preparers: Develop more robust partnerships with tax preparation organizations as part of a wide-ranging strategy to prioritize ongoing outreach, especially if policymakers create more overlap between tax season and enrollment in 2016 and future years.

This graphic and these recommendations come from our latest issue brief: Amplifying the Connections Between Health Coverage Enrollment and Tax Filing. Read the brief to learn more about public data, Enroll America’s private survey research and outreach efforts, messaging considerations, and effective partnerships to best leverage the tax filing moment to maximize enrollment.

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