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» Smilin' Jack   » Specific Discussions   » TWA Retiree Forum   » HCTC Letter from IRS

   
Author Topic: HCTC Letter from IRS
Carlsbad Bill
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Have any of you received a recent letter from the IRS Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC)? The letter claims that the HCTC will pay 65% of the premium for the qualified health insurance premiums for eligible individuals.

Is this legit or a scam?

Thanks,
Bill

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JWMRET
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The way I read the letter, because we receive PBGC benefits we possibly qualify and the program will pay 65% of our insurance premiums. I am about to call the HCTC customer contact center to find out what this is all about.

John Mehew

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Irish
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I haven't received a letter but a search of the IRS website indicates that the "hooker" for us who are over 55, receiving a benefit from the PBGC and not enrolled in Medicare, is that AA must contribute less than 50% of the cost of our plan to make it a qualified plan. My guess is that that would not be the case but a call to employee benefits or the IRS should resolve that question.

Paul

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Irish
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Well, I just spent some time on the phone talking to the HCTC people and Complink. It looks as though it may be worth the trouble to register for the credit. Complink says that AA pays nothing for our insurance and the $40 we pay per person is 100% of the cost of the coverage.

The other qualifiers that affect us are that you must be at least 55 years of age, receiving a pension from the PBGC and NOT enrolled in Medicare, part A or part B. that's probably a pretty small window for most of us but, hey, a buck is a buck! [Big Grin]

Paul

Paul

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L1011Ret
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A lot of F/As are signing up. There is one other hooker, you must not have insurance through a spouse.
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smilinjack
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This is from the Silver Swallows website.....

We wish to advise all of our Silver Swallows members that we were recently made aware of the fact that the IRS sent out a federal Health Coverage Tax Credit announcement booklet and eligibility form to former airline employees who are between the ages of 55 and 65 and are receiving PBGC payments, have COBRA coverage, receive Trade Readjustment Allowance or receive benefits under the Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

Unfortunately, when you look at the mailing envelope it is easy to think this is either another piece of junk mail or an advertising agency posing as the IRS. If you threw yours in the trash, we believe it important to advise you that it is an official IRS document describing that you and/or your family may be eligible to claim for a federal Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC).

In reading the booklet it says that this is not a government health insurance program; it is a federal tax credit that can help to pay for monthly health plan premiums as they become due or as a lump sum when you file your 2003 federal tax return.

It further reads that this important benefit pays 65% of your qualified health plan premiums for as long as you remain eligible. The program kit identified as IRS, Department of the Trasury, Internal Revenue Service Publication 4181 (rev 7-2003) Catalog Number 36370X contains sixteen (16) pages of information including a checklist to determine if you are eligible or ineligible to receive this credit.

Needless to say, we cannot reproduce the sixteen (16) pages of information, but we are passing this information along and should you wish to investigate this program, we suggest you visit the www.irs.gov web site. When the Internal Revenue Service web page appears, type “HCTC” in the upper right hand slot identified as “IRS Keyword.” After reviewing the website, should you have further questions you can contact the IRS Customer Contact Center toll free at 1-866-628-HCTC (1-866-628-4282). TDD/TTY callers, please call 1-866-626-HCTC (1-866-626-4282). Hours of operation: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central time, Monday through Friday.

We hope this information is of value to our eligible members.

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Irish
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Since I'm only age eligible until May 04 I wondered if my wife would be covered until she reaches age 65. Sadly the answer is NO. From the FAQ's:

Question: Now that I have Medicare is my spouse still eligible for the HCTC since she is not eligible for Medicare yet?
Answer: If you are now eligible for Medicare, you are no longer eligible for HCTC. Since you no longer qualify, additional family members including spouses are not covered under HCTC.

Paul

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JWMRET
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Health Coverage Tax Credit. I talked to the HCTC Customer contact Center at 1-866-628-4282. They are a private firm contracted by the IRS.

To benefit we must meet certain criteria.
1. Receive a pension benefit from the PBGC
2. Enrolled in an approved health plan approved by the State in which you live.
My State, Arizona has no approved plans listed at this time but may in the future since this is a new law. More research needs to be done

More information can be found at IRS.gov KeyWord HCTC

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JWMRET
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I think American pays far more than 50%. I haven't researched an outside source for comparable insurance but a buddy of mine is retiring from AW this month and has received his Cobra Insurance bill starting in September. Its $1000.00 plus per month for him and his wife. I have heard from several sources that to replace the medical plan it would cost a 60 year old $4000 to $5000 per year.
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hashslinger
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I sent my registration forms in last week, got a call from them (HCTC) yesterday, and will receive an invoice shortly. I pay them 35% of COBRA, and they then pay the entire COBRA premium. This helps take the pressure off until we can find jobs with insurance coverage.
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Irish
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John,

I made that same argument with Complink, but the agent insisted that AA contracts with UHC, Complink administers the plan and AA pays nothing over the $40 that we pay. Go figure.

Paul

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JWMRET
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I would be very interested if any one applies and is approved. If you have Cobra from AA and are over 55 but not yet eligible for Medicare you will be approved. I still have my doubts unless we have documentation from AA that they pay less than 50% of our Medical insurance. I worry that AA will somehow find a way to drop TWA retirees from their medical coverage. I checked with a friend and without going into a great deal of research, a plan similar to our PPO would cost me about $400/month and an additional $350/month to cover my wife.

John

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TWAnr
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quote:
Originally posted by Irish:
John,

I made that same argument with Complink, but the agent insisted that AA contracts with UHC, Complink administers the plan and AA pays nothing over the $40 that we pay. Go figure.

Paul

I do not know about the other work groups, but I suspect it is the same or very similar.

For furloughed flight attendants, the monthly cost of COBRA for the Point of Service plan is $205.64 for an employee only, $411.13 for an employee plus one dependent and $546.95 for an employee plus two or more dependents.

$40 is equivalent to approximately half the monthly active employee's payroll deduction toward the cost of health insurance coverage for those who have more than one dependent.

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Ron
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**Why I was not eligible**

I just received calls today from federal and state offices concerning the Health Coverage Tax Credit. As background I retired from TWA in March, 2001 before the effective day of the AA/TWA merger or buyout.

As was pointed out to me...you have to be enrolled in health care coverage where you are qualified as listed below:

1.COBRA continuation coverage, unless the employer or former employer pays at least 50% of the cost of coverage. (I don't have COBRA because I'm in a AA sponsored medical plan for retirees.)

2.Individual coverage in which you were enrolled for at least the last 30 days before you were seperated from the job that made you eligible for TRA benefits, ATAA benefits, or payments from the PBGC. (Even though I receive PBGC payments, I did not enroll in any new health insurance plan before I retired.)

3.State-qualified health plans. (I'm not in any state plans since these are set up for people who can't get health insurance anywhere else.)

4. Your husband or wife's insurance from work, if the employer contributes less than 50% of the total cost of coverage. (My wife does not work.)

Other pilot's or employees might meet one of the above qualifications, especially COBRA or spouse working, but I did not. So therefore, I was ineligible for the tax credit.

Ron [Frown]

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L1011Ret
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From what I know through F/As postings on other BBS, this pretty well sums it up. Some TWAers will be eligible and others not. For instance, my spouse is furloughed but I have AA Health Insurance as a retired TWA pilot. Therefore not eligible.
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JWMRET
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Ron's post above sums up what I've found out
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Phil
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I called to ask about the Dental insurance premium we pay. The Reply - "Since the MEDICAL health insurance premium you pay is less than 50% of the total cost neither is subject to a tax credit.

So the rule of thumb seems to be:

If you lost your medical coverage when your company went bankrupt and your retirement went to the PBGC you can take the tax credit. BUT, if any company (including AA) is paying more than 50% of your health insurance you can not take the tax credit.

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