It’s time to file taxes and this year there is a new penalty, or, “individual shared responsibility payment” cost, according to the Internal Revenue Service. However, Native Americans who did not have health insurance during 2014 can avoid the cost by filing an exemption.
There’s no need to worry about the “shared responsibility” cost if you had private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid in 2014 and if you do not file taxes, according to the IRS guidelines. If you fall in any of these categories, sit back and relax, you don’t need it and you don’t qualify.
But if you are among the many Native Americans who rely on Indian Health Services for the majority of your urgent care needs and well child check-ups there is a form you will need to include in your filing to avoid paying up to $95 per person or the national average premium for minimal coverage, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Services.
There are three ways to apply for the exemption:
· There is the Indian Health Services Affordable Care Act Exemption Form and this form must be completed and submitted to IHS facility along with a copy of your CDIB. It takes about a week to receive the IHS exemption eligibility letter.
· There is the Health Insurance Marketplace Application for Exemption for American Indians and Alaska Natives and other Individuals who are Eligible to Receive Services from an Indian Health Care Provider. You will need a CDIB or tribal membership, Social Security numbers and household information.
· But the easiest route is the most recent of eligibility requirements, the IRS Form 8965. All you need is your CDIB or tribal membership, complete Section three and use Code ‘E’. Most big companies like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt are already versed in using the form and will only need a copy of your CDIB.
The Osage Nation Constituent Services Office and your local IHS can provide an application for exemption. Information about the exemption process is also provided on the Constituent Services web page.
“[The exemption application] is provided on our website for constituents to conveniently access it,” said Jacque Jones, Coordinator for Constituent Services.
According to HealthCare.gov the shared responsibility cost will continue to increase, “the penalty increases every year. In 2016, it’s 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person after that it is adjusted for inflation.”
Forms and links
Osage Nation Constituent Services osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/constituent-services
To receive the tax exemption file Form 8965, a link is provided on the Constituent Services site or call (918) 287-5662, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and qualifying for exemptions or learn more about health insurance coverage in 2015 www.healthcare.gov/exemptions/ or call (800) 318-2596
Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov
[This article was corrected for clarification on March 25, 2015. In the original version it was incorrectly stated to check "C" when filling out form IRS form 8965. Tribal members should check "E."]