The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Law requires most Massachusetts residents age 18 and over who can afford health insurance to have health coverage for the entire year or pay a penalty through their tax returns. Penalties accrue for each month of non-compliance. However, there is a grace period permitting lapses in coverage of three or fewer consecutive months. Individuals must be enrolled in health insurance plans that meet "Minimum Creditable Coverage" (MCC) requirements defined in regulations adopted by the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority. MCC is the minimum acceptable level of health insurance benefits that taxpayers need to be considered insured and avoid tax penalties in Massachusetts. Please see the Massachusetts Health Connector website and the Schedule HC Instructions pdf format of    Schedule HC Instructions and Worksheets  for more information about Minimum Creditable Coverage.

To comply with the law, residents and certain part-year residents must file Schedule HC, Health Care Information pdf format of    2013 Schedule HC  , with their paper or electronic Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY. Individuals with private health insurance (through an employer or purchased privately, for example) will receive a Form MA 1099-HC pdf format of    1099_hc.pdf  , Massachusetts Health Care Coverage, from their health insurance carrier. Members enrolled in MassHealth, Commonwealth Care or Commonwealth Care Bridge with incomes above 150% of the federal poverty level will also receive a Form MA 1099-HC. This form contains the necessary information to complete Schedule HC.

Individuals enrolled in Medicare, Veterans Administration Program, Tri-Care or "Other" government health insurance will not receive a Form MA 1099-HC. Instead, the individual must check the appropriate box on Schedule HC to indicate the plan they were enrolled in. For more information, see the Instructions for Schedule HC pdf format of    Schedule HC Instructions and Worksheets  .

Taxpayers who lack health insurance are subject to penalties only if health insurance is deemed affordable. The penalties vary depending upon your income, age and family size, however, there is no penalty for individuals with income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. See the guidelines regarding the tax penalties for not having health insurance. Taxpayers subject to penalties may appeal the imposition of the penalty to the Health Connector if they experienced a hardship that prevented them from purchasing health insurance. Visit the Massachusetts Health Connector or see the Schedule HC Instructions pdf format of    Schedule HC Instructions and Worksheets  for more information on the appeals process, including a list of hardship criteria.

Most adults already have health insurance, perhaps through their employer or a government program. If you do not have this insurance, the Massachusetts Health Connector can help you or your employer to find the right health plan. The Health Connector has new health insurance choices for you and your family. These plans carry the state's Seal of Approval for quality and affordability. You may also purchase plans through approved Massachusetts health insurance carriers. To learn more, or to purchase a plan, you can reach the Health Connector at 1-877-MA-ENROLL, TTY number (888-213-8163) or visit www.mahealthconnector.org.

IMPORTANT: Schedule HC MUST be filed by full-year residents and certain part-year residents with Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY. Failure to do so will result in a delay in the processing of the return.

If you had more than two insurance carriers, you may also need to complete Schedule HC-CS pdf format of    Schedule HC-CS  .