News : Problems With Access Health CT Forms Keep Customers From Filing Taxes
Hartford, CT, USA, April 10, 2015 -- Access Health CT has received thousands of complaints from its customers regarding a health-insurance form they need to file taxes, and various problems that have delayed them from filing. The filing deadline is Wednesday.
Anyone who bought a private health-insurance plan on Connecticut's exchange, Access Health CT, receives a 1095-A form that must be filed with their federal taxes.
Since February, Access Health CT has received calls from about 3,800 customers regarding the forms, though the nature of the complaints varied widely, Access Health CT CEO James Wadleigh said Friday.
Customers said some forms had incorrect dollar amounts, such as an inaccurate tax credit the customers received to offset the cost of health insurance.
"We're not sure that there's a systematic problem yet," Wadleigh said. "So far, every one of these individuals [has] been a unique issue."
One customer, Sari Rosokoff of Glastonbury, said she noticed inaccurate information on her 1095-A about one month ago and brought it to the attention of people working at Access Health CT. Rosokoff said she was told she would receive a corrected form in two weeks. She said early Friday that she had yet to receive it — more than four weeks after she first called. By Friday afternoon, the exchange sent her a corrected form via a password-secured email.
"I'm frustrated," she said. "I wanted to get my taxes done early because of the Anthem security breach. ... And I had it ready to go, and my accountant was ready to be done with it at the beginning of March, and then this has now delayed it to the point that I'm filing for an extension."
Rosokoff was among the Anthem customers who were encouraged by public officials to file taxes early because of a massive data breach that Anthem Inc. announced in February. One of the major concerns is that criminals could use the information to file bogus tax returns and steal the rebate.
Wadleigh said that in about 1,000 cases, the tax form mailed to customers was returned because the customer's mailing address didn't match the one on record. In some cases, people are reporting that the forms have incorrect information.
Some of those calling had bought a health plan with one insurer, then dropped that one for a different insurer while the open enrollment period was still open through March 31, 2014, Wadleigh said.
"Those seem to be the ones that have been calling us the most," Wadleigh said.
Separately, the Connecticut Insurance Department is receiving 10 to 20 complaints daily, starting last week, about the Access Health CT tax forms, said department spokeswoman Donna Tommelleo. Customers have also complained on Facebook.
Access Health CT on Friday released a statement advising anyone with problems relating to the 1095-A form to file for an extension for filing their federal taxes by using Form 4868.
It's not clear how many forms have incorrect numbers. Access Health CT manually verified the numbers on thousands of forms with information provided by insurance companies as early as January, Wadleigh said.
One possible cause of incorrect information on the 1095-A forms could be the exchange's computer system, which resulted in people having incorrect tax credits last summer. About 80 percent of the incorrect tax credits were due to a computer glitch and 20 percent were due to user error, Access Health CT said last summer. The majority of those customers were told they qualified for government-funded Medicaid when, in fact, they did not. Others had incorrect tax credits.
In July, Access Health CT discovered what former Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan described at the time as a "system error" on July 1. The problem was with back-office 834 forms that are used between health insurers and the exchange. Access Health CT manually created new 834 forms for people who lost their tax credit last year.
"When something like that happens, it could mess up their 1095," said Access Health CT spokeswoman Kathleen Tallarita.
Wadleigh said, "We take our customers' issues very seriously." He said each customer's complaint will be resolved.
Access Health CT hired a call-center vendor to handle questions from people who did not know what to do with their 1095 form. Some of the frustration from customers is that they waited on hold for a long time, but also that the vendor can't offer tax advice. So, if a customer asked about the numbers on the form, the vendor referred the customer to Access Health CT's internal customer service representatives. And there are only 10 people answering the phones to respond to questions about numbers on the 1095 forms, Wadleigh said.
"As we have continued to get closer to tax season, you know, the deadline ... there's longer wait times," Wadleigh said.
Each 1095-A has the customer's monthly premium, which is the price of the insurance plan; the monthly premium of the second-lowest-cost silver-plan on the exchange, which is used as a benchmark; and the advanced payment of the tax credit deducted from the premium to lower the cost of health insurance.
Wadleigh released a statement Friday afternoon saying people who are having a problem with the 1095-A form, and who have not filed their 2015 federal tax return, must file a request for an extension — a Form 4868 — with the Internal Revenue Services by midnight, April 15.
"The Treasury and IRS have also previously announced that any individual who received an incorrect Form 1095-A, and filed his or her tax return based on that form does not need to file an amended tax return," Wadleigh said in a statement. "The IRS will not pursue the collection of any additional taxes from these individuals based on updated information in the corrected forms."
Anyone who hasn't filed tax returns and did not receive a 1095-A from Access Health CT, is encouraged to call.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, April 13, 2015