Why Your Health Insurance Provider May Ask for Your Social Security Number
Don’t be surprised if your health insurance provider asks for the Social Security numbers for you, your spouse, and any dependents covered by your policy. The reason is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires providers of minimum essential health care coverage to report that coverage to the IRS by filing an information return.
The return demonstrates the shared compliance aspect of the ACA between individuals and providers, and allows your health insurance carrier to show the government that you have adequate insurance and are not subject to the individual mandate penalty fee.
Information received by the IRS will be used to verify what you report on your individual income tax return.
Once your provider has your Social Security number, your carrier will file a 1095-B information return with the IRS and provide a copy to you. Alternatively, if you work for an employer with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents, your company will issue a 1095-C.
As the health plan participant, you will receive the Form 1095-B or 1095-C statement in January 2016, which is evidence that you had health coverage for calendar year 2015. Be sure to include the form with the other 1099s and W-2s that you provide to your tax preparer. It contains essential information that will protect you from the individual mandate penalty that could otherwise be assessed on your 1040.
Request will arrive via mail
According to the official question and answer page on this topic, the IRS has not designated a specific form for your health insurance company to request this personal information, but instructions will be mailed to you. If you are asked to send your Social Security number via an unsecure email protocol, it could be a phishing attempt from a hacker who is aware of this government request, so be cautious of such an approach and take measures to protect yourself from online phishing efforts.
Help for employers and business owners
If you are also a business owner with 50 or more employees, you may be required to report group health coverage information for calendar year 2015. We have broken down the requirements to help you understand the reporting details, or you may listen to our webinar on this topic.