It’s not uncommon for your health insurance company to request that you provide the Social Security Number for each of yourself, your spouse, and the children covered by your policy. The Affordable Care Act requires every provider of minimum essential coverage to report that coverage by filing an information return with the IRS and furnishing a statement to covered individuals. This information is then used by the IRS to administer — and by individuals to show compliance with — the health care law.

Here’s how it works. Health coverage providers file an information return (Form 1095-B, “Health Coverage”) with the IRS so that they can furnish statements to you in 2016 to report coverage information from calendar year 2015. The law requires health insurance providers to list the associated Social Security Number on this form. If you don’t provide your Social Security Number and the Social Security Numbers of all covered individuals to the sponsor of the coverage, the IRS may not be able to match the Form 1095-B with the individuals specified on your return to determine that they have complied with the individual shared responsibility provision.

Your health insurance company may mail you a letter that discusses these new rules and requests the Social Security Number for all family members covered under your policy. The IRS has not designated a specific form for your health insurance company to request this information so the form you receive will be specific to the issuing health insurance company. However, it should be a written request that is mailed to you through the U.S. Postal Service, not emailed to you. If you receive an email request, be aware that it could be a phishing scam by a hacker who is aware of this requirement, so be careful not to respond directly to the email. Instead, call the insurance company at its main number (not any number contained in the email) or go directly to the insurance company’s website (not from the link or to an address contained in the email) to verify the request before completing the form.

The Form 1095-B will provide information for your income tax return that shows you, your spouse, and individuals you claim as dependents had qualifying health coverage for some or all months during the year. You do not have to attach Form 1095-B to your tax return. However, it is important to keep it with your other important tax documents.

Anyone on your return who does not have minimum essential coverage, and who does not qualify for an exemption, may be liable for the individual shared responsibility payment.

The information received by the IRS from your health insurance company will be used to verify information on your individual income tax return. If you refuse to provide this information to your health insurance company, the IRS cannot verify the information you provide on your tax return, and you may receive an inquiry from the IRS. You also may receive a notice from the IRS indicating that you are liable for the individual shared responsibility payment.

To minimize these potential complications, complete the paperwork issued by your health insurance company or contact your Untracht Early representative so we can help.

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