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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

February 9, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Tax forms mean new troubles for health-care exchange

Washington’s health insurance exchange last week began sending out federal tax forms, and that has a created a new set of challenges to sort out.

The exchange has mailed documents called 1095-A forms to most of  its 130,000 customer accounts, and the form is also supposed to be available through customers’ online accounts. However, some customers are finding that they’re unable to view the forms through Washington Healthplanfinder and exchange officials say they’re working with their contractor, Deloitte, to fix the situation.

An additional 5,000 tax forms have not been mailed because of problems with the information, including the need for data from the IRS.

In an email statement, a spokeswoman with the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which runs the insurance marketplace, said: “We are working closely with Deloitte to have the majority of the remaining forms produced and provided to consumers as early as the end of [this] week.”

Bellingham’s Charlotte Gaston is one of those people having problems with misinformation on her 1095-A.

“Either I don’t understand it, or there’s some kind of clerical errors,” Gaston said.

The forms are supposed to show month by month the amount of a person’s insurance premium and how much that person  received in federal tax subsidies to lower the cost of  coverage. Gaston received subsidized insurance all year, but her 1095-A is missing subsidy information for five months. The information is used to make sure people didn’t receive subsidies that were too large or too small based on how much their income ended up being for 2014.

Gaston first noticed the error through her online account, so she contacted the exchange to question it. She was told she would receive a version in the mail that would be accurate, but it was wrong, too. She’s not sure if the incorrect form was mailed out before she reported the problem or after.

“The people at the exchange have been nothing less than totally helpful and patient with me,” Gaston said. “I have no problem with these people.”

Customers with errors on their forms can fill out a correction request online or contact the Healthplanfinder customer support center at 1-855-923-4633. The exchange has added 10 customer support staff with special training to help resolve 1095-A form problems.

There is general information about filing the new tax information in this Seattle Times story, as well as through the federal health insurance exchange, the IRS and Healthplanfinder.

Gaston is still waiting on separate tax information from a financial institution before she can file her federal taxes for 2014, but she is eager to get this situation resolved sooner than later.

“The thing about the exchange stuff that spooks me a little bit,” she said, “is they told me they have problems, but how long will it take them to fix that?”

 

 

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