Update on the new Minimum Essential Coverage Individual MandateDecember 2019 Tax News

The Franchise Tax Board and Covered California are working together to administer the new Minimum Essential Coverage Individual Mandate (Senate Bill 78, Ch. 38, Stats. 2019), otherwise known as the health care mandate, which takes effect January 1, 2020.

On November 14, 2019, FTB and Covered California co-hosted a stakeholder meeting at FTB’s central office. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the health care mandate and solicit input from:

  • Employers
  • Tax professionals
  • Software services providers
  • Tax
  • Payroll
  • Other
  • Payroll companies
  • Insurers
  • Others

The meeting included more than 30 guests representing the above groups and other state agencies. The industry representatives provided meaningful input as we and Covered California prepare to implement the health care mandate.

The health care mandate, patterned after the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires Californians to obtain and maintain qualifying health insurance coverage.  Those that choose to go without coverage could face a financial penalty unless they qualify for an exemption.

Covered California is administering the program by connecting Californians to the health insurance they will need along with financial assistance options.

We are responsible for administering the penalty and validating the reconciliation of the financial assistance subsidies received through Covered California. To not be subject to a penalty when they file their 2020 state income tax returns, Californians will need to verify that they either:

  • Have minimum essential coverage
  • Qualify for an exemption

We are getting information out to the public about the new mandate. Communication efforts include:

  • We updated our health care mandate webpage to include more information about the penalty and exemptions. The page also provides links to Covered California. 
  • Covered California is placing digital social media advertising on behalf of us using their existing resources.
  • We are launching a social media campaign including tax tip videos.
  • We collaborated with Covered California for a November open enrollment kickoff.
  • News releases are planned for December.
  • A joint media teleconference is planned for January.
  • We will coordinate with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to include training and materials for volunteer preparers to share with taxpayers during the tax season.  

Draft tax forms should start becoming available by June 2020.
We plan to update our Health care mandate webpage in January with more details. If you have questions or would like to provide input, please write us at FTBHealthcare@ftb.ca.gov.