Member Healthcare Update

As the regulations for the Affordable Care Act unfold we will keep you apprised of what we know regarding your AmeriCorps health benefits.

As stated earlier this year, if you are on the AmeriCorps health plan you must be aware that currently, the coverage that is offered through the PMSC does not meet the minimum requirements of the ACA. While you can keep PMSC coverage, you may be responsible for what is being called “the individual shared responsibility payment,” when you fill out your 2014 federal tax forms.  The payment would be about $95.00.

While we believe that most of you will be exempt from this payment, there are a few things you can do to proactively to seek an exemption. Here is what we currently know:

  • You can apply for Medicaid in the state of Pennsylvania. If you are denied Medicaid coverage because PA has not expanded Medicaid eligibility, you may qualify for an exemption from the individual responsibility payment. Keep the record of denied coverage for tax time.
  • You will have the opportunity to file for an exemption when filing your 2014 taxes, though you are not guaranteed exemption from the penalty under the individual responsibility provision.
  • You can fill out the exemption form available on the healthcare.gov website.  We do NOT recommend that members file for an exemption using the exemption form until we have more information from the Corporation/DHS.Our state program officer called the healthcare.gov help line and spoke with a supervisor about the exemption form.  She was told that individuals filling out this form will most likely be contacted by a case worker, and that case worker will help determine if the individual qualifies for the exemption or not.  This may be problematic, as a member who does not explain their service the correct way – i.e. talking about their “paycheck” instead of a living stipend, referring to AmeriCorps as a “job,” discussing current benefits, etc… could very much confuse the issue.

    In any case, the exemption form can be downloaded here.