Every year there’s something new at tax time; this year the most visible new item is Form 1095. Most consumers will receive a form 1095 this year — the form shows whether you had health insurance that meets the requirements for adequate health coverage (known as "Minimum Essential Coverage"). Form 1095 actually provides a month by month indication of coverage. That means that some consumers may receive two or more forms. For example, if you were covered through your job from January through July, and then you changed jobs and had different coverage through the new job, you would receive a form for each of the plans you participated in during the year.

Form 1095 comes in three forms: A, B, and C. You will receive the type(s) that apply to your situation. Form 1095-A comes from the new health insurance Marketplace (www.healthcare.gov). If you purchased insurance through the Marketplace, you will receive this form — you should be able to obtain it by logging into your Marketplace account. This form includes essential details not needed on the other two versions of the form, because it shows how much Advance Premium Tax Credit you received to help you pay your health insurance premiums. Form 1095-B would come from your insurance company, if you purchase health insurance as a private individual (or family) through an insurance agent. It shows whether your policy meets the standards for "Minimum Essential Coverage" and showing which months you were covered under that policy. Form 1095-C is issued by employers to employees who receive health insurance as part of their employment. It will look a lot like Form 1095-B.

Most consumers do not need to worry about whether their plan meets requirements for "Minimum Essential Coverage," because nearly all employer plans and most plans sold by insurance companies meet the requirements. The form simply provides the documentation you need as you file your tax return. Reminder: most people will receive only one form (either A,B, or C), if they were covered by one health insurance policy for the entire year.

Delayed forms. This will be the first year that insurers and employers are required to issue Forms 1095-B or 1095-C. Normally they will be required to issue the forms by Jan. 31. However, some companies were having trouble getting the systems in place to issue these forms, so the IRS postponed the deadline until March 31 for this year only. The result? Many consumers may not have their Forms 1095-B or -C in hand before they file their tax return. If you go to a tax preparer who pays attention to detail, and you don’t have your Form1095-B or –C yet, be sure to bring along some other evidence of insurance (such as your insurance card, or billing statements).

Form 1095-A is essential. Even though version B and C are non-essential this year, if you purchased insurance through the Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov, you must have Form 1095-A before filing your tax return.

For more information on personal finance topics, search www.extension.org or contact me through Hardin County Extension, ph. 641-648-4850 or toll free 1-888-648-5005 or directly ph. 515-832-9597 or bwollan@iastate.edu). Subscribe to our blog at www.blogs.extension.iastate.edu/moneytips.