Reporting Tricare On Your Tax Return

Reporting Tricare On Your Tax Return

Now that the tax preparation season has started, we’re getting questions about reporting health care coverage on your income tax return.  The Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010, requires that all Americans have qualifying health care coverage, called minimum essential coverage (MEC) for the entire year, or pay a penalty for not having the required health care coverage.  Tricare health coverage is considered MEC.  Tricare health coverage is available to military members and their families, retirees and their families, Survivor Benefit Plan annuitants, and former spouses who have Tricare coverage under provisions of the 20-20-20 rule.

Tricare coverage that meets the requirement of minimum essential coverage includes:

  • Prime,
  • Standard,
  • Tricare for Life,
  • Overseas,
  • Remote, and
  • Uniformed Services Family Health Plan, and also
  • Tricare Young Adult,
  • Tricare Reserve Select, and
  • Tricare Retired Reserve.

While the tax return process is the same as last year, there is new documentation for the 2015 tax year.  The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will be issuing 1095 tax forms to Tricare beneficiaries.  There are two different forms that will be issued by DFAS:

IRS Form 1095-B (for Military Retirees, Annuitants and Former Spouses,) or

IRS Form 1095-C (for Active Duty Military and Federal Civilian Employees.)

These forms will be available through the online myPay account access system on 13 January 2016, for those who have elected electronic tax statement distribution.  For those who receive their tax statements through the mail, they will be mailed between 10 and 31 January 2016.

Here’s the thing about those forms:  while you need to have them available, either electronically or on paper, you don’t actually have to submit them to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with your income tax return.  As long as you had MEC for the entire year, and it is accurately reported on either a form 1095-B or form 1095-C, then all you have to is check the appropriate box on your income tax return.

1040EZ

If you file the 1040EZ, the health care question is located on line 11 of the form.  If your spouse (if applicable) and you were both covered by acceptable Tricare health insurance (as listed above) for the entire 2014 calendar year, then you can check the box and continue.  Easy!

 

How To Report Tricare On Income Tax Return

1040A

The form 1040A form poses the health care question on line 38, on page two of the form.  If everyone claimed on this tax form was eligible for acceptable Tricare coverages (as listed above) for the entire 2015 calendar year, then tick the box and move on to the rest of the form.

Reporting Health Care Coverage

Please be sure that you understand that you are indicating that every member covered by the tax form has had eligible coverage for the entire year.  If you have dependent parents using Tricare Plus who do not have other MEC, or if your spouse and children don’t have Tricare because you have never enrolled them in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), then you are dealing with a more complicated situation.  Please reach out to your base’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an accountant or other tax professional to ensure that you are reporting health care coverage accurately.

Form 1040

The forms may get more complicated, but indicating that you have health care coverage doesn’t get any harder.  On the Form 1040, health care identification occurs on line 61, on page two.  As with the forms listed above, if everyone represented on this tax form has been covered by qualified Tricare health coverage for the entire 2015 calendar year, your only responsibility is to put a check in the box and continue on with the form.

Reporting MInimum Essential Coverage on Taxes

 

If you were not covered by Tricare  the entire 2015 calendar year, or if you have some family members who were not covered, then your reporting requirements may be different. Please reach out to your base’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an accountant or other tax professional to ensure that you are reporting health care coverage accurately.

These new forms will bring lots of questions, and I’d be glad to help you find the answers.  Let me know your questions in the comments!

Reporting Tricare

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Robert Lynch

    I am a retired Air Force MSgt. I received my form 1095-B from the VA. My wife turned 65 in Sept 2014 and went on medicare and Tricare for Life at that time. She has not received a form 1095-b showing that she meets the insurance requirements for 2015. Should she have received that form to present to our accountant ?

    • Guest Contributor

      No – If she’s on Medicare/TFL, she can use her Medicare member card as proof of MEC.

  • Donna Gardner

    Sir, my dad received the same firm as proof he has coverage from the VA. She is not eligible for VA, therefore she will not get one. You do not have to show proof unless you are having your taxes prepared by certain companies. We are an active duty military family and were only required to check a box, no proof needed.

  • Donna Gardner

    Sir, my dad received the same form as proof he has coverage from the VA. She is not eligible for VA, therefore she will not get one.

  • Lissette Rio

    Question: I was covered by Tricare for most of the year as a spouse, divorced, and am now covered as a DA Civilian. Since I am no longer filing with the service member is there any guidance as to how I would prove when I file that I was covered under Tricare for most of the year, prior to being covered through my own civil service plan?

    • Kate

      Ms. Rio, I would recommend that you ask your former spouse for a copy of the form available to him/her for your records. However, you do not have to provide documentation when you file your tax return. As long as you know that you had MEC, then you can check the block on your tax return.

      • Guest contributor

        Kate – you know that many former spouses don’t speak to each other and any cross contact bears little results.

        • Kate

          I’ve witnessed this, but I will probably never understand it except in cases of abusive behavior. There is absolutely no benefit to not speaking or behaving poorly towards one another, and there can be many benefits to having a cordial relationship.

  • Guest Contributor

    As long as you had coverage from any source for every month in that year, you are covered.

  • TCollins

    what if you as parent are not covered now but your children are still??? Also we do online tax returns, does turbotax understand how to do this now???

    • Ben

      The major tax programs simply ask you the yes/no question, just like the form does. You have to understand the rules and be prepared to provided proof in the event of an audit.

  • Jeanene

    If my husband retired from active duty having Tricare Prime Remote in June 2015 and we are now covered by Tricare as Retired Prime is it the same form?

    • Guest contributor

      Call TRICARE and ask them

    • Kate

      Jeanene, active and retired military Tricare coverage are both reported on form 1095-B.

  • Tenille

    What if everyone is covered under my active duty husband and we had a baby in Sept. He was covered from Sept-Dec, do we still check the box?

  • E

    I married my husband on September 2015, who is active duty. I became effective through Tricare prime in November. Can we still check the box?

  • Janet Rostrup

    I am a U.S. Air Force widow. My late husband was active for 25 years. Retired in 1987. He passed away in 2005. We both had Tri Care and after that I went on to receive Martins Point Family health care, which I understand is part of Tri Care. How would I file this?

  • Janet Rostrup

    I am a U.S. Air Force widow. My late husband was active for 25 years. Retired in 1987. He passed away in 2005. We both had Tri Care and after that I went on to receive Martins Point Family health care, which I understand is part of Tri Care. How would I file this? Am I even eligible?

  • So if you file this form! What does it do for you tax wise?

    • Kate

      Diana, having Minimum Essential Coverage, as defined by the Affordable Care Act, means that you are not required to pay the penalty for not having health coverage.

  • Guest contributor

    The form(s) 1095 doesn’t (don’t) get “filed” – they are only an advisory document to let you know what’s been reported to the IRS so you can either check the full year coverage ACA block on your appropriate tax return form or use the computation to figure out your “shared responsibility” (also known as a PENALTY for not being able to AFFORD the “minimum coverage”). It is a good guess that there will be many NON-filers until this egregious provision in the ACA is reformed or repealed !

  • Guest contributor

    The form(s) 1095 doesn’t (don’t) get “filed” – they are only an advisory document to let you know what’s been reported to the IRS so you can either check the full year coverage block on your appropriate tax return form or use the computation to figure out your “shared responsibility” (also known as a PENALTY for not being able to AFFORD the “minimum coverage”). It is a good guess that there will be many NON-filers until this egregious provision in the law is reformed or repealed !

    • Pamela Martin

      My husband and I have tri care and my mother is our dependant. She is 80 years old. she is on medicare would she recieve this form for our taxes?

    • Pamela Martin

      My husband and I have tri care and my mother is our dependant. She is 80 years old. she is on medicare would she recieve this form for our taxes

  • Helen holt

    I am Medicare.. Tricare Plus, which covers it.

    • USFSPA Killer

      YOU are NOT “Medicare” – you HAVE “Medicare” ! And, since you have Medicare, you do have TRICARE FOR LIFE – ! TRICARE Plus is only available at selected military healthcare facilities and not at any civilian healthcare facilities.

  • Mariah

    I was just recently married in September 2015 & was enrolled with Tricare. How would I go about this? Do I get a 1095 form from my former health care & do I have to submit both?
    Thanks

  • Desirae

    If I had a hold in February of 2015 do I still check the block?

    • Desirae

      *had a baby

      • Guest contributor

        No, you’ll have to pay the “shared responsiblity” payment (RIPOFF !) for that month.

      • Kate

        Yes, if your child was covered for each month of it’s life, then you check the box.

  • JESSICA BIZZELL

    I just received this form. My husband is active duty with the Army. The form only says we were covered for January. We have been covered all year shouldn’t the box “all year” been checked? Who do I contact to get this corrected?
    Thanks !

  • Bill

    I am 66 on Medicare, with Tri-care supplement. My wife is 62 and on Tri-care, since she does not yet qualify for Medicare. What forms do I need to fill out, or box do I check since we file joint return. She is on Tri-care as a result of my 25 years of service.

    • Guest contributor

      Yes, check the block – you are both cover under MEC.

    • Kate

      Bill, you should check the block indicating that you both had minimum essential coverage. Tricare qualifies, as does Medicare. I hope that helps.

    • rebekah

      I’m having the same issue! My husband came off deployment halfway thru last year and so it only shows we were covered for 6 months out of the year…..help, I’m calling tri-care tomorrow. Is anyone else having this issue?

      • Kate

        rebekah, it seems that lots of people are having this issue. Please let me know how it gets resolved!

  • Walter Blair

    How do I get the form 1095-b on line?

  • Val

    I have not received a 1095 Form. The site says they should be received by Jan. 31. Is there a number I can call to request or question why I haven’t received the form?

    Val

    • Kate

      Val, you can access your 1095 via the online MyPay system, or wait for them to arrive through the mail (if you have selected the option to have it mailed.)

      • Val

        I’m not on the MyPay system I haven’t received anything that required me to have it mailed either. Is there a contact number I can call to inquire about it?

        • Val

          Guess I will have to just be patient…. lol

  • USFSPA Killer

    The IRS rule requires 1095’s TO BE SENT OUT BY JAN 31st, not to be received. Just be patient – you have until April 15th to file your tax return and pay your “shared responsibility” payment out of you refund ! ! !

  • Paul A. Courchene

    I am Retired USAF MSgt. Have Wife and Step Daughter. Receive VA Compensation for 60 % disability also.
    Current 1095-B (2015) indicates that I am (was) covered for months Jan. – Nov 2015. Wife shown on 1095B as having coverage for 12 months (Jan – Dec 2015). Daughter show on 1095B as being covered Jan – Nov 2015. I assume all parties to have had coverage via TriCare, for Year of 2015. How to correct Form? Does TriCare for Life cover subject insurance requirement.

    • Guest contributor

      Paul – You supplied too much personal info for such an open public forum like this ! You really need to think before you reveal personal info like this !

  • Greg

    I divorced over 2 years ago, remarried in 2015, and only have SBP for my ex-spouse, NO health insurance. I got the 1095B in the mail today and she and her granddaughter are listed as dependents. Why?

    • Kate

      Greg, the 1095 is “supposed” to report what you have listed in DEERS. You’ll have to contact the DEERS customer service to find out how to fix this. Good luck!

  • Bobby

    My wife passed away in March of 2013. I received a 1095-B yesterday stating she was covered for all of 2015 for health care coverage. I also received a 1095-B in her name stating I was covered for the entire 2015 year. Has TRICARE just not updated their records???