Question: When I re-enrolled last November for Covered California I estimated my income about $1500/month (based on my income for the past 10 years). In January 2015, I became unemployed. I forgot to report my income change and been receiving premium assistance and been paying my adjusted premium. Since I had no income in 2015 do I have to file for taxes? Is there a penalty I have to pay since I forgot to report my income change and been receiving premium assistance? Thanks!
Answer: For starters, because you enrolled through Covered California you have to file a tax return for 2015, even if you had no income. With no income in 2015, you were eligible for Medi-Cal, not Covered California. But, since you made no money, there is no taxable income from which the IRS can recover the premium assistance your were given. So you get to skate by this time - no penalty, no tax recovery. Your Covered California coverage will end at the end of 2015 and your Medi-Cal coverage will start January 1st, 2016.