Monday, February 05, 2018

From the Mailbag: A Toughie

This one seems to be a real poser:

"I am hoping you can answer some questions I have. I've been looking at my marketplace application and it asks about dependents and whether or not you claim them on your taxes. My divorce decree is written so that I can claim 2 kids one year while my ex claims 1. The next year it switches. So for the purposes of getting insurance through the marketplace, can I only claim each year which children I will be claiming that tax year? My ex says when he claims the children he cannot get the child tax credit because they do not live with him. So all of this is confusing to me. I will have to pay even more for insurance if I do not claim them all. They live with me full time and their father pays child support.

As things stand now, I am court ordered to carry them on insurance. However when I fill out the application it asks me if they have access to private health insurance. Technically they do through their father but I do not have the power to force him to carry them without seeking a court order. If I answer that question as they do not have access, is that technically correct since I can’t make him without a court order? My plan is to get the order changed anyway but I have considered carrying them if it makes the premium cheaper. However, I do not know if I legally can. I would like to know what my options are in regards to this.

I have asked a few attorneys I know about this and none of them even an answer. If you cannot answer me, do you know of someone who can answer?

Thank you so much! I know that is a lot of craziness

I replied:

"I’ve gone round and round on this, and the challenge is that these are really closer to legality/tax questions than I’m comfortable answering (since I don’t play either a lawyer or*an accountant on TV).

Two thoughts:

1 – I’d call the .gov hotline (800-318-2596) and see what they have to say.

2 – I’ll also make this offer: We would be happy to post this in our “From the Mailbag” series (anonymously, of course), see if that produces anything helpful.

Just let me know.

I’m so sorry I can’t be of more help

She responded:

"Unfortunately none of my lawyer buddies know the answer to this but none of them specialize in tax law. I will try the government hotline as soon as I can. If you want to post it on your blog that is fine with me as well. I can’t be the only one with this problem."

Which is more than a fair cop.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, or drop us a line in email if you'd prefer.

NB: For now, this is strictly about coverage, not subsidies.

Thank you!
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