The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to make it easier for low-income people to take advantage of the “hardship exemption” from the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
The agency is proposing a change to the present procedure, which requires those seeking an exemption to obtain a certificate from Healthcare.gov or their state insurance marketplace. Instead, HHS wants to allow qualifying individuals to simply make the hardship exemption claim when they file their income taxes.
The ACA requires all individuals to carry minimum essential health insurance or pay a penalty, called a “shared responsibility payment,” unless they are exempt from this requirement. One such exemption is for individuals whose income is below a level set by HHS.
Some have found the two-step process of obtaining an exemption certificate from a marketplace, then including that with their tax return, to be confusing. The HHS proposal, requiring only a statement with the individual’s tax return, is intended to make the process the more straightforward.
Individuals eligible for services from an Indian health care provider would also be able to claim a hardship exemption through the tax filing process under the HHS proposal.
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