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Covered California Q&A

Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.


Married Filing Separatey?

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Question: I filed married filing jointly in 2013. My husband moved out after Christmas 2013, & we have been separated. I qualified for assistance using our joint return 2013 for CoveredCA assistance for 2014. We filed married filing separately for 2014. I was accepted for coverage for 2014, but what will happen now? Will I still be covered? My income for 2015 will be less, as it was in 2014, but I am being given a penalty due to filing separately for 2014.

Answer: Had you listed your tax filing status as "married filing separately​" on your Covered California application, you would not have been eligible for a subsidy. So it seems to me that you have disqualified yourself from the advance premium tax credits you received in 2014. If so, you are still covered and your premium assistance will continue until you notify CC of your tax status change. In order to continue getting premium assistance (assuming you still qualify based on income) you will have to change your tax status to single or married filing jointly.

2 Comments

I am married but filed as head of household for taxes 2014 and my husband filed as married filing separately. now we come back and we are trying to apply for health plan is that possible??

However, premium assistance received each month is an advance on a tax credit which is only claimed when one files one’s taxes end of year. If your 2014 end of year tax filing status has changed from Married Filing Jointly as applied with Covered California to Married Filing Separately, neither you nor your husband are eligible to claim a health tax credit.

Therefore, any monthly tax credit advances received during the 2014 year will have to be returned by each and both of you. You account for this required returned amount on your 2014 tax return.

Put another way:

You received and accepted a monthly advance based upon your stated eligibility (Married Filing Jointly) when you applied for health insurance and assistance, yet come the end of the year your eligibility was actually different as Married Filing Separately which renders you ineligible to claim any tax credit on your tax return.

Therefore, you must return any advance tax credit you took and received because the advance was for something (an end-of-year tax credit) which in fact end-of-year does not exist and cannot be claimed.

I drive this point home hard, with each and every one of my clients who elect to take advance health tax credit subsidy each month during the year.

Depending upon the total annual amount (12 months total) of advance tax credit you both received for 2014, you may want to re-consider filing your 2014 taxes as Married Filing Jointly. If you filed for 2014 already, you may want to amend your 2014 taxes to file jointly.

Then for 2015, if you intend to be divorced by the end of 2015, change your current status with Covered California to ‘Single’ as you expect and anticipate your tax filing status to be when you file your 2015 taxes, where at the end of the year you will be eligible to claim a health tax credit subsidy on your tax return.

Good luck. Best to you.

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