Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Minimum Essential Coverage
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most Americans to have qualifying health insurance called "minimum essential coverage." Under the ACA's individual shared responsibility provision (also known as the "individual mandate"), most Americans must maintain minimum essential coverage or potentially pay a federal tax penalty to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
All of CalPERS' health plans meet the minimum essential coverage requirement.
IRS Reporting/Form 1095-B
Health plans are required to report member and dependent minimum essential coverage information to the IRS beginning in 2016 for the 2015 plan year, and annually thereafter. The IRS will use this information to determine if you and your family met the individual mandate for the year.
By March 2, 2017, if you are the subscriber (called the "responsible individual" by the IRS) in a CalPERS Basic health plan (including an early retiree), you'll receive Form 1095-B from your health plan showing the months of coverage you and your family members had during the year. The IRS recently extended the deadline to March 2, 2017, for health plans to provide you Form 1095-B; however, it is not necessary to wait for this form to file your federal taxes. While the information on the form may assist in preparing a return, it is not required. Consistent with last year, taxpayers can prepare and file returns using other information about their health insurance.
If you're a retiree in a Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan, you should receive a Form 1095-B from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
If you have questions about Form 1095-B, or if any information is not correct, please contact your health plan directly. Find additional information from the IRS' Questions and Answers about Health Care Information Forms for Individuals.
To learn more about the "individual mandate," review the IRS' Individual Shared Responsibility Provision.
Social Security Number Solicitation
You may have been contacted by your CalPERS health plan if you or your dependents are missing any information required for IRS reporting, such as Social Security numbers (SSNs). It is to your benefit to provide all missing information. Doing so will help the IRS verify your and your family's health coverage for the year so that you aren't subject to a tax penalty. If you feel a solicitation request isn't legitimate or could be a scam, contact your health plan directly. Please also remember that at any time throughout the year you may log in to my|CalPERS to view and update your and your family's information.
For additional information on reporting health coverage to the IRS, visit Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals and Families.
This information is provided for general assistance purposes only and should not be construed as tax advice.
Dependent Coverage/Extended Coverage
CalPERS' health benefits cover all eligible family members including your spouse, domestic partner, and children. Under the ACA's extended dependent coverage, your child is eligible for benefits up to age 26, regardless of marital, student, housing, or employment status. However, your health coverage doesn't extend to your son's or daughter's spouse or children. The payment for extended dependent coverage costs is consistent with premium payments for other dependents.
If you're a temporary or variable-hour employee, you may be eligible for health coverage due to new provisions in the Public Employee Medical and Hospital Care Act (PEMHCA) that help large contracting employers meet ACA requirements. To check if you meet the expanded eligibility criteria, contact your employer. If you are not eligible for CalPERS health coverage, you may purchase coverage through Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace, and may be eligible for premium tax credits to subsidize costs.
CalPERS no longer allows employers to rescind health coverage based on a reduction in hours worked. Generally, the ACA defines a rescission as a retroactive cancellation of health coverage. A cancellation or discontinuance of health coverage with a prospective effective date is not considered a rescission.
Annual and Lifetime Limits/Out-of-Pocket Expenses
CalPERS' Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans no longer have annual or lifetime dollar limits on essential health benefits. In addition, beginning in 2014, out-of-pocket costs for in-network essential health benefits in all CalPERS health plans are limited. Refer to your health plan's Evidence of Coverage in Plans & Rates for more information on out-of-pocket limits.
Summary of Benefits and Coverage
Under the ACA, health plans must provide information about their plan benefits and coverage in an easy-to-understand Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) document, along with a glossary of terms commonly used in the health insurance industry. The SBC documents allow you to easily compare your health plan choices to determine what is best for you and your family. Each year, CalPERS posts our plans' SBC and glossary, available in the Plans & Rates section (subsection Health Plans), and also provides information on how to request these tools directly from our health plans during Open Enrollment.
CalPERS Members and Covered California
If you lose your CalPERS health benefits, you may be eligible for COBRA coverage. As an alternative you may purchase health benefits through Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace. You may also be eligible for premium tax credits through Covered California to subsidize insurance costs. Visit Covered California for more information on coverage options and how to purchase health benefits.