IMPORTANT NEWS AND UPDATES
NECESSARY ACTION REQUIRED BY ALL CURRENT HCTC MONTHLY PLAN PARTICIPANTS
Pre-65 January Invoices Delayed, Read Carefully, the HCTC Re-authorization & Re-enrollment Process Below
Dear Airline, Auto and Steel Retiree and Eligible Dependent:
Last week Congress passed, and President Trump signed a spending package that extended the HCTC for one year, until December 31, 2020! The Trusts 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. There is no impact to plan participants enrolled in the plans through the Airline, Auto or Steel Trusts paying 100% of the cost, and not eligible for the HCTC program. They will continue to make their payments by the 1st of each month.
HCTC Eligible Plan Participants Next Steps:
(1) Your January premiums payments are now due by January 25th and will be paid directly to Benistar, at 100% of the cost of the insurance you have elected to enroll in effective January 01, 2020.
(2) The Monthly (AMP) program will not begin until the IRS/HCTC announces they will be accepting the 27.5% payments again. Until that time, you will make a 100% payment to Benistar directly and will take the 72.5% cost you paid for the months paying 100% off of your income tax next year.
(3) We believe you will be paying 100% for at least 1 month and maybe 2 however, we cannot promise when the Monthly HCTC program will begin.
(4) The IRS/HCTC program will not accept the Newly completed 13441-A forms sent to them from the plan administrator Benistar until they Re-Open the program department on January 15, 2020. Don’t send your forms directly to the IRS/HCTC Program, Benistar will be processing your newly completed 13441-A forms and sending them to the IRS/HCTC program for you.
(5) You must continue to pay Benistar 100% of the cost of your premium each month until you are notified by the IRS/HCTC program that you have been re-enrolled into the program and they have the correct rate and plan you are enrolled in on the 13441-A document, effective for your start date into the monthly program.
(6) You must complete and submit to Benistar ASAP, a Newly Completed 13441-A FORM for each individual enrolled as a “Single” in the plan. A “Family” will only need to complete (1) 13441-A form for their Family.
(7) Keep in mind, the plan cost information you provide on the 13441-A form may be different from what you elected for a plan you chose to enroll in for the month of January, prior to the reauthorization of the HCTC program, at 100% cost of the premium for your January payment.
(8) Benistar will be providing all 13441-A forms and documentation required they have received from plan participants BEFORE January 15, 2020, to the IRS/HCTC program on January 15, 2020, once the program is restarted.
(9) Once Benistar sends the necessary documents required and the IRS/HCTC program processes the documents, this will trigger the IRS/HCTC program to then send you the necessary re-enrollment letter from the IRS/HCTC program and Benistar to mail you your yearly voucher payment packet.
(10) If you already have a HCTC PIN NUMBER from being enrolled in 2019, you will be using the same PIN Number in 2020.
(11) It is important to note that if you do not complete the 13441-A form and email or fax it to Benistar at the following contact info (fax) 1-860-408-7025 (email) in a timely manner, your enrollment into the monthly program may be delayed and you may be required to continue paying 100% of the cost of your insurance plan until you have completed the steps required and received the letter from the IRS/HCTC program stating you have been re-entered into HCTC monthly program.
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
This week Congress passed, and President Trump signed a spending package that extended the HCTC for one year. (Read more under HCTC Information tab)
From: Portman Press <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 12:10 PM
Subject: Portman, Brown Announce Final FY 2020 Funding Bill Includes Extension of Health Coverage Tax Credit
Portman, Brown Announce Final FY 2020 Funding Bill Includes Extension of Health Coverage Tax Credit
Health Coverage Tax Credit is Critically Important for Thousands of Hardworking Retirees in Ohio
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the final FY 2020 funding bill released includes a short-term extension of the Health Coverage Tax Credit through the end of 2020. This credit helps subsidize the cost of continued coverage for retirees and other individuals who lost their health care coverage — in addition to their pensions and other benefits — when their employers either entered into bankruptcy or laid off workers due to foreign trade. Earlier this year, Portman and Brown introduced bipartisan legislation that would extend for five years the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). The HCTC is critically important for many hardworking Ohioans, including as many as 5,000 Delphi salaried retirees in Dayton, the Mahoning Valley, and Sandusky. In addition, a few hundred workers from the Lordstown General Motors plant have applied for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and would benefit from the HCTC as well.
“Thousands of retirees in Ohio and their families depend on the Health Coverage Tax Credit, and I’m pleased the funding bill includes an extension of this credit, even if it is only for one year,” Portman said. “Since I came to the Senate, I’ve fought for multiple extensions of the HCTC, including my bill that was included in the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 the last time the credit was extended. These hardworking Ohioans rely on the HCTC for affordable health insurance after their pensions were terminated or after they were adversely affected by foreign trade, and I will continue to work with my colleagues and the administration to ensure the stability of health coverage for these individuals and their families. While this short-term extension is less than the five years I called for in my legislation with Senator Brown, I’m still pleased that we were able to prevent the expiration of this credit, providing certainty to thousands of Ohioans.”
“The Health Coverage Tax Credit is a lifeline for thousands of Ohioans, many of whom are living on fixed incomes after losing their pensions and healthcare. This critical legislation will help ensure these retirees and workers get the relief they need in order to afford healthcare,” said Brown.
NOTE: The HCTC, which is set to expire on January 1, 2020, helps to reduce the cost of maintaining health insurance coverage for a number of individuals that are either receiving TAA benefits or are between the ages of 55-64 years old whose pensions were terminated and are being administered by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Portman and Brown worked together to extend this tax credit in 2011 and again in 2015.
NAIC - National Association of Insurance Commissioners
NAIC Meeting / March 2018
We are committed to doing whatever it takes to get ALL eligible recipients the access they need to receive the monthly payment option for the HCTC program.
Our call center receives hundreds of calls from individuals that live in a state with no avenue to receive the HCTC program on a monthly basis. We recognize how important the monthly payment option is and we are doing our part to get each eligible recipient that option.
If you currently do not have access to this monthly payment option, it is important that you contact the Commissioner of Insurance for your state and let them know you would like access to receive the monthly payment option of the HCTC federal subsidy. There were many states at the NAIC conference that we believe will join us in getting you this benefit. We need your support in letting them know! Please click on the button below or look at the PDF provided below to find the contact information of the insurance commissioner for your state.
UPDATED PROCESS FOR HCTC PROGRAM
Attention All Pre-65 HCTC Eligible Insurance Participants
The process of HCTC payments changed as of January 2017. If you are a Pre-65 HCTC Eligible Retiree/Dependent participant, you will now be responsible for making the 27.5% insurance premium payment each month you remain enrolled in the Advanced Monthly Payment program (AMP). The plan administrator will no longer manage your payment process. To avoid having to pay 100% for your insurance premium each month, the IRS/HCTC must receive your 27.5% premium payment no earlier than the 22nd of the current month but before the 10th of the month the premium is applied to. Example: Your July premium payment must be received by the IRS/HCTC between June 22 and July 10. If you send in your payment at any other time, it will not be applied to your July insurance premium.
Whether newly enrolled in the IRS/HCTC Advanced Monthly Payment Process (AMP), or an HCTC participant transitioning from the “interim AMP process” established in July 01, 2016, the new program managed completely by the IRS/HCTC has changed. You will receive a “Welcome” letter to the new program. It is extremely important to save this letter once received.
The IRS/HCTC “Welcome” letter will include your individual “Participant Identification Number” (PIN) at the top of the page. This PIN is your account number and will enable the IRS/HCTC to identify you and the cost of your plan as well as your length of eligibility for the HCTC program. The PIN must be included each month on your payment voucher, along with your form of payment (check/money order/ certified check only) for your 27.5% insurance premium payment.
It will be your responsibility to make sure the information on your form is correct and all areas are completed properly, especially the PIN number, prior to mailing it to the IRS/HCTC. If you did not receive the forms from the Plan Administrator, please follow the instructions outlined in the letter you received from the IRS/HCTC, to complete the voucher.
If you intend to complete the form electronically for you to print and mail you must download and save the voucher to your computer.
Once downloaded and saved to your computer, you will be able to fill out the form electronically. By completing the top portion of the form, the bottom portion of the voucher will automatically populate.
If you don’t have a computer or if you have difficulty with downloading the voucher, we suggest you ask a family member, a friend or a local business center to print the voucher to complete it manually using a pen. You can make multiple copies for future payments for the remainder of the year as well.
For many of you already enrolled in the “Interim” Payment Process prior to January 2017, the plan administrator, has taken the necessary steps to transition your eligibility information to the IRS/HCTC:
Your completed 13441-A IRS/HCTC form
Made your January 2017 of 27.5% premium payment to the IRS/HCTC.
Provided the IRS/HCTC with all your eligibility documents collected
You must make your payment directly to the US Treasury-HCTC and mail your payments directly to the IRS/HCTC address below.
Beginning with the February 2017 insurance premium, you will be required to complete and include the voucher with your payment. Whether you complete the voucher electronically by downloading to your computer or manually with a pen, the bottom of the voucher must accompany your payment. The top portion of the form can be kept for your records. Remember, the payment must be received before the 10th of the month at this address:
US Treasury – HCTC
P.O. Box 970023
St. Louis, MO 63197-0023
Personal Check, Money Order or Certified Check are the acceptable forms of payment to the IRS. No credit card payments or other forms of payment will be accepted.
You must send in the correct amount each month for your 27.5% premium. If you send in less than the required 27.5% payment for the plan you have selected, your payment will be rejected and you will be required to make a 100% payment to the plan administrator, for that month. You will have the ability to file for the 72.5% credit on your Federal taxes at the end of the year. 100% payment will be required for each month you fail to send in sufficient money to cover your 27.5% premium OR if the IRS/HCTC does not receive your payment by the 10th of the month deadline.
If you pay more than required for your 27.5% premium when making your monthly payment, the IRS/HCTC will return the entire payment. It will not be applied to future premium payments. Any refund from the IRS could take several months, therefore, we urge you to send the exact amount requested to cover your 27.5% monthly premium.
Please remember you cannot make premium payments in advance of the 22nd of the month before the premium is due, and you cannot overpay in anticipation of credit for future premiums.
If you are a member of the Pre-65 Insurance program and pay 100% of the insurance premium but do not qualify for the HCTC program, you will continue to have the option of using the EFT process for making your payments for your insurance each month through the plan administrator.
Process for making a timely payment for 27.5% insurance premium for February 2018
Complete the voucher that you have received from the plan administrator or found on the IRS website from the “Welcome” letter by either downloading electronically or manually with a pen if printed. Insure that the form includes your Participant Identification Number (PIN)
Include the personal check, money order or certified check made payable to “US Treasury – HCTC” and the completed bottom half of your voucher in an envelope addressed to:
US Treasury – HCTC
P.O. Box 970023
St. Louis, MO 63197-0023
Mail your 27.5% insurance premium payment for February after January 22nd but in time to be received no later than February 10th. Allow ample time for your payment to be received by the IRS/HCTC, processed, and placed in your account.
Remember, your payment must arrive in the IRS hands no later than the 10th of each month.
If you send a payment too early, the payment will be returned and you will be required to pay 100% of the cost of your insurance premium for that month. It may take several months to receive your money from the Treasury Department.
Unlike the payment process used for people participating in the “interim process” that has just concluded, you will not be paying one month ahead, you will now be paying the month you use the insurance which makes it very important to make your premium payments in a timely manner, to avoid having your insurance benefits terminated for lack of payment.
Information for Filing your Taxes for 2018 If you are claiming the 72.5% subsidy credit for the months you paid 100% of cost of your insurance premium in 2018, the links for information can be found below.
You will need to follow special instructions to claim the HCTC for 2018 when you file your federal income tax return in 2019. You will file Form 8885, Health Coverage Tax Credit, and attach documentation that shows that you were an eligible individual for the HCTC and that the premiums claimed for your 2018 coverage were paid.
Questions and Answers about Claiming the Health Coverage Tax Credit
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.