Sometime after the new year, we all will have to fill in some numbers on a new Massachusetts tax form – Form HC. The HC stands for Health Care, and it’s the enforcement mechanism for the individual mandate requirement that all adults have health insurance if it’s affordable.
The DOR is out with its revised draft of Form HC, and its draft instructions. The form has gone from 2 to 3 pages, and the instructions (2 pages + 1 page of tables + 1 page to look up your county) include this 94-word gem of a sentence:
If line 1 is less than or equal to: $15,315 if single or married filing a separate return; $20,535 if married filing a joint return with no dependents; or $25,755 if head of household or married filing a joint return with one or more dependents, fill in the No oval in line 6a, skip the remainder of this worksheet and go to the following Schedule HC Worksheet for Lines 6b and 6c, unless your employer offers you free health insurance coverage (your employer’s Benefits Department should be able to provide this information to you).
To be honest, it’s easy to make fun of this but the complexity is a byproduct of fairness – that’s the tradeoff. The question is, how will the general public react? For the vast majority, with insurance, the form is fairly straightforward. But if you get into the affordability determination, it’s pretty tough.
The form is just a draft, and DOR invites feedback. One immediate issue I spotted – there’s a website address for the Connector, but no phone number. DOR has also posted a revised form 1099-HC, which you will need to fill out the Form HC, and other information on its health information page.