With open enrollment ahead, many consumers' subsidies still in peril

Though the government has tried to reach out to individuals who did not file proper tax returns, scores of people are still at risk of losing their health insurance subsidies because of this issue, the New York Times reports.

The U.S. Treasury Department said this summer that 1.8 million households could lose the tax credits they had been receiving to pay for coverage obtained under the Affordable Care Act. Within that overall figure, 710,000 had not filed tax returns and had not requested more time to do so, while 760,000 had filed their returns but omitted a key document that accounts for the subsidies, Form 8962.

While the Times notes that taxpayers already find this form daunting, the Internal Revenue Service is actually drafting a new version of the instructions for Form 8962, according to LifeHealthPro; this iteration appears even more complicated than its predecessor.

If individuals who haven't correctly filed their tax forms do not change their coverage in the upcoming open enrollment period, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise when they get a bill next year for their full-priced coverage, notes the Times.

Many individuals depend on subsidies to be able to afford their coverage, and losing this financial assistance could exacerbate the exchanges' struggle to retain customers. Thus, the federal government and "a small army" of insurance counselors are preparing to come to the aid of consumers who are at risk of losing their subsidies, according to the article.

On the other hand, a report published in August estimated that 2.2 million people who are eligible for subsidies to help pay for their ACA coverage aren't accessing them, signaling that consumers still aren't well-versed in their health insurance options on the exchanges.

To learn more:
- read the Times article

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