HCTC INFORMATION AND ELIGIBILITY
10 Tower Lane, Suite 100
Avon, CT 06001
Complete the 14095 Form to have the full out of pocket premiums paid during the time we were waiting on Congress to extend the HCTC Program. If you submit the form to the IRS, you will be reimbursed within approximately 12 weeks.
HCTC Program Information
We specialize in the establishment of the (3) Trusts that qualify for the “Health Coverage Tax Credit” Programs (HCTC) providing a 72.5% subsidy to Retirees between the ages of 55 and 65 (not yet eligible for Medicare) and their dependents that have had their pensions trusteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) as well as Trade Adjustment Affected workers that have had their jobs outsourced to another country and qualify for the Trade Affected Assistance program.
WHAT IS HCTC?
The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) was established by Congress as part of the 2002 Trade Act and is a federal program authorized to pay a 72.5% Subsidy for the health insurance premiums for Retirees and TAA-ATAA workers that meet the requirements established by Congress.
It was established to help cover the cost of health care for:
⇒ Workers who lost their jobs due to foreign trade
⇒ Retirees whose pensions have been trusteed/turned over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
In February of 2009, with the passage by Congress, of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Retirees of bankrupt companies were allowed to immediately establish Insurance programs providing access to healthcare, for workers that had lost or had their healthcare benefits greatly reduced, in the bankruptcy process . The formation of these vehicles to provide access to healthcare are called a Voluntary Employee Benefit Associations (VEBA’s ). The immediate access to the contact information of a company allowed the workers the ability to make the former employees aware of the group healthcare options available to them that included a subsidy to help offset the cost of their healthcare insurance.
Two Groups are eligible for the HCTC Program
You may be eligible to elect the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) if you are one of the following:
- An eligible Trade Adjustment Assistance recipient, Alternative TAA recipient or Reemployment TAA recipient.
- An eligible Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) payee between the ages of 55-65 and their dependents, or
- The family member(s) of an eligible TAA, ATAA or RTAA recipient or family member of a divorced or deceased PBGC payee who meets the requirements.
ATAA or RTAA
To qualify for the 72.5% HCTC benefit as a PBGC payee, recipients must have worked for a company whose defined-benefit pension plan was insured and then turned over to the PBGC. The PBGC assumes control of the defined-benefit plans when it determines that the plans must be terminated to protect the interests of participants or when employers demonstrate they could not remain in business unless the plan were terminated. The PBGC uses plan assets and its own insurance reserves to pay the pensions to the former workers and their survivors. In the event of the recipients death, the dependent would either receive the benefit as the new recipient or would continue as a qualified family member and receive the benefit for 24 months after the recipients death. If the deceased recipient had shared their pension with their surviving spouse, the surviving spouse would then take the place of the deceased recipient. The new information and age of the recipient would be listed with the surviving spouses information. Individuals who receive PBGC-paid pensions are eligible for the HCTC, provided they are between the ages of 55 and 64 years old but not yet entitled to Medicare.
To qualify for the TAA, ATAA or RTAA, a group of workers who have lost their jobs due to plants closing or their jobs offshored due to international trade. To qualify for TAA, a group or workers must petition the US Department of Labor to establish that their job loss was attributable to a qualified cause. If a Department of Labor investigation confirms the workers' claim, the workers are certified as eligible for TAA benefits and services.
TAA-certified workers are eligible for the HCTC on the basis of receipt of certain TAA benefits. They are eligible for the HCTC if the worker receives any of the following:
1.) Trade Re-adjustment Allowance
2.) Re-employment Trade Adjustment Assistance
3.) Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance
The worker must be receiving cash benefits to be eligible. The worker qualifies for HCTC on the first day of a month if the worker received an eligible TAA benefit "for any day in that month or the prior month".
Click here for further details with the United States Department of Labor Q&A forTAA, ATAA or RTAA groups.
You may be eligible under the two groups described above, but still not qualify for the tax credit if you are enrolled in:
- a health plan maintained by the individual's employer or former employer
- if the employer or former employer pays more than 50% of the total premium;
- the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)
- Medicare Part A and/or B
- Medicaid; or
- the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
You are also not eligible for the HCTC Program if you are incarcerated or if you may be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer.
Members and Qualifying Family Members
An eligible taxpayer may use the HCTC for health insurance that covers his or her spouse and any dependents who may be claimed on his or her tax return. Children are considered dependents if under the age of 26. A child with separated or divorced parents are considered dependents if the recipient is the custodial parent.
Family members or "dependents" are eligible as long as the retiree or TAA worker continues to meet the eligibility requirement to participate in the HCTC Program. It is not necessary for the retiree or TAA worker to enroll in the HCTC Program in order for dependents to participate in the HCTC Program and receive a subsidy for their healthcare. Each dependent is eligible to participate in the HCTC program as an individual if they choose (rules and qualifications of the member are kept with your file).
A qualified family member (QFM) is a dependent of a retiree that is limited to eligibility in the HCTC program for 24 months following a life event experience by the retiree or TAA worker, where the member loses eligibility for the HCTC program.
Last week Congress passed, and President Trump signed a spending package that extended the HCTC for one year. Trust members will benefit from extension of the HCTC however, due to Congress’ delayed action on this matter, the January invoices which were to be mailed in December have now been delayed and will be sent the second week of January. January premiums will now be due by January 25th. ALL PREMIUM PAYMENTS WILL CONTINUE TO BE PAID TO BENISTAR UNTIL YOU HAVE SUBMITTED A NEW 13441-A FORM AND HAVE RECEIVED A RE-ENROLLMENT CONFIRMATION LETTER FROM THE IRS/HCTC. If you already have a HCTC PIN from being enrolled in 2019, your number will be the same in 2020 but you are still required to send a new 13441-A form and until you receive the re-enrollment confirmation from IRS/HCTC you are responsible for paying 100% of the premium to Benistar.
In addition, the HCTC department will be reopening January 15th. ALL HCTC AMP PARTICIPANTS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A NEW 13441-A FORM FOR 2020. Here are the steps for completing the re-enrollment process.
Each HCTC AMP participant must complete a new 13441-A form. Please use the premium amounts on the HCTC Plans and Rates 2020 tab when completing your 13441-A forms.
If you were enrolled for December 2019 in the HCTC AMP program, it is not necessary to provide proof of eligibility to the IRS when re-enrolling. If you are enrolling for the HCTC AMP program for the first time, you will need to include proof of eligibility.
Mail, Fax or Email your completed 13441-A form (and proof of eligibility if you are a new HCTC AMP enrollee) to:
Mail: Benistar Retiree Services
10 Tower Lane, Suite 100
Avon, CT 06001
Benistar will review and forward your 13441-A form along with proof of your BCBSM insurance premium to the HCTC department. Benistar will contact you if there are any corrections to be made to your 13441-A forms. Do not mail your 13441-A forms directly to the IRS. They will be rejected without the BCBSM spreadsheet being provided to the IRS/HCTC by Benistar.
Once you have received the new Welcome Letter from the HCTC, you are enrolled and will start making the 27.5% premium payments to the IRS along with your voucher. Continue to pay 100% of the BCBSM monthly premium to Benistar until you receive the Welcome Letter. It may take up to 6 weeks to receive the Welcome Letter so submit your 13441-A form to Benistar as soon as possible.
Call Benistar 1-800-236-4782 with your HCTC PIN once you are re-enrolled. If you have not received new vouchers from Benistar with your PIN, print the voucher from the IRS website and include your PIN on the voucher.
Congress has made the HCTC subsidy retroactive for those participants paying 100% in a qualified plan such as the Airline, Auto and Steel Trust plans. You will receive the 72.5% subsidy reimbursement, for the months in 2020 that you pay 100% of the premium, by completing the necessary IRS form 8885 with your 2020 Federal Tax Return. If you participated in the HCTC AMP program in 2019 and terminated your Pre-65 Trust insurance because of the uncertainty of the HCTC reauthorization but would now like to continue to stay in the plans for January 2020, you can call Benistar at 1-800-236-4782 before January 1st and request to remain in the same plan that you ended 2019 with. You will be responsible for paying 100% of the monthly premium to Benistar until you are re-enrolled in the HCTC AMP program, but you will receive the 72.5% subsidy reimbursement with your 2020 Federal Tax Return.
The Airline, Auto and Steel Trusts and BCBSM will offer a special Open Enrollment period with the reauthorization of the HCTC program. DSRA Benefit Trust members will have the opportunity to make benefit election changes and to enroll or re-enroll if you had terminated your insurance at the end of 2019. More information regarding the dates for the special Open Enrollment period will follow soon. If you elect to make changes to your plan during the special Open Enrollment period, you will also have to complete a second 13441-A form updating those changes with the IRS/HCTC. For members who did not change plan levels at the end of 2019 or for those not wanting to change their 2020 plan level, you do not need to go through the special Open Enrollment process.
The one-year reauthorization of the HCTC program is a relief but not the five-year or permanent status we had hoped for and asked for. Therefore, we ask you to continue to bring this important program to the attention of your representatives in Washington, DC by thanking them for the 12 months while asking them to support a more permanent option. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep this important benefit available to Trust members.
If you have any questions regarding your 2020 Airline, Auto or Steel Trust insurance plans both Pre-65 and Post-65, please call Benistar, the plan administrator, at 1-800-236-4782.
Happy New Year!
Cone Retiree Healthcare Group
Posted Update 12/21/2019:
This week Congress passed, and President Trump signed a spending package that extended the HCTC for one year. All eligible Trust members will benefit from extension of the HCTC. There will be an extended open enrollment period.
The HCTC program is currently shutdown since the reauthorization occurred after the department’s shutdown deadline and restarting the program will take at least one to two months. Congress has made the HCTC subsidy retroactive for those participants paying 100% in a qualified plan. (The Affordable Care Act Plan is NOT a qualified plan). You will receive the 72.5% subsidy reimbursement, for the months in 2020 that you pay 100% of the premium (if enrolled in a qualified plan or stayed in one of the Trust plans offered in these Auto, Airline or Steel Industry VEBA's), by completing the necessary forms with your 2020 Federal Tax Return. If you participated in the HCTC AMP program in 2019 and terminated your insurance through one of these plans offered by the VEBA Trust's because of the uncertainty of the HCTC reauthorization but would now like to continue to stay in the plans for January 2020, you can call Benistar at 1-888-588-6682 before January 1st and request to remain in the same plan that you ended 2019 with. You will be responsible for paying 100% of the monthly premium until the HCTC AMP program is back up and running but you will receive the 72.5% subsidy reimbursement with your 2020 Federal Tax Return.
Once the HCTC program’s restart timeline has been determined along with any changes to the enrollment of participants, we will offer a special Open Enrollment period. All qualified VEBA Trust members will have the opportunity to make benefit election changes and to enroll or re-enroll if you had terminated your insurance at the end of 2019. More information regarding the dates and requirements for the restart of the HCTC AMP program will follow as soon as we have them.
The one-year reauthorization of the HCTC program is a relief but not the five-year or permanent status we had hoped for and asked for. Therefore, we ask you to continue to bring this important program to the attention of your representatives in Washington, DC by thanking them for the 12 months while asking them to support a more permanent option. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep this important benefit available to all of the VEBA Trust members.
If you have any questions regarding your 2020 insurance plans both Pre-65 and Post-65, please call Benistar, the VEBA Trust administrator, at 1-888-588-6682.
Blue Cross Blue Shield will hold a “Special Enrollment Window” for BCBSM plan participants once the monthly program has been announced. Stay Tuned for the Dates for the "Special Open Enrollment Window".
For those HCTC eligible plan participants enrolled in a plan for the month of January, through one of the Trusts or another provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will give you the opportunity to change your current plan, during a “Special Open Enrollment Window” that will be announced soon. This means you will have the ability to enroll or change your election in the current Trust plan, during this “Special Enrollment Window” due to a “Life Event” triggered by the reinstatement of the HCTC program. You must contact your plan representative and notify them you have experienced a “Life Event” and would like to terminate your coverage through their plan. If you are enrolled in a plan through one of the Trusts we represent, you will need to complete a New Insurance Enrollment form in the Trust and also a New 13441-A form found on our website and send them to Benistar, the plan administrator in a timely manner in order to get you enrolled into the monthly program.
Thanks for helping us to get you enrolled into the Monthly HCTC program as soon as possible and for your Great Work in doing your part to help contact Elected Representatives and express your importance of this HCTC program!
Happy New Year!
Cone Retiree Healthcare Group,
Cathy Cone John Cone Lisa Andrews