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The Affordable Care Act requires most people in the United States to have health insurance starting in 2014. While undoubtedly beneficial for many, a number of those currently uninsured are in for a shock during the open enrollment period that starts October 1, 2013. Will you be one of them? If you currently lack health insurance, can you afford “affordable” care?
Help For Low-Income Uninsured
Subsidies will offset the cost of health insurance for low-income individuals and families. If income for your family size is below 133% of the federal poverty level, you will likely qualify for Medicaid and be forced into that program. The good news? It won’t cost you anything. If your income is just a dollar over the threshold, however, you’ll be required to pay for a health insurance plan or face penalties that increase each year you remain out of compliance.
Real-life Examples From California:
Mr. K is in his 50s, self-employed and makes $18,920 per year. To date, he’s paid his minimal medical expenses as they arise, averaging less than one doctor visit per year over the past decade. Under the Affordable Care Act, Mr. K will qualify for a subsidy to cover almost 85% of his “affordable” care plan but will still have to shell out an estimated $74 per month ($888 per year), well above what he’s currently spending. Is this “affordable” for Mr. K?
Mr. J and his wife are in their 50s, he’s self-employed, she’s retired and their annual income is $20,975. They also pay their minimal medical expenses as they arise and spend about $300 per year on doctor visits, medication and flu shots. Under the Affordable Care Act, they will be forced into the expanded Medicaid program due to their low income. If their income increases by just $429 per year, however, they will be required to pay an estimated $59 per month, which at $708 per year, is over twice what they currently spend. Is this “affordable” for Mr. J and his wife?
How To Find Affordable Care Info Specific To Your State
The HealthCare.gov website explains your options – just click ‘See Your Options’ and enter the requested information. Depending on where you live, you’ll either use the HealthCare.gov Marketplace when it comes time to buy health insurance or be directed to your own state’s website. If your state is administering their own Health Insurance Marketplace, there may already be an online calculator there to help you estimate how much “affordable” care will cost you. Open enrollment is coming soon so do some research and start planning how you will meet the new health insurance requirement and avoid penalties.