Dear Tom and Alan:

I went through your last column having to do with finding out if one qualifies for financial assistance through Covered California.

You said a family of four earning less than $97,000 per year might be able to get a subsidy to help with their monthly payment.

What about one person or just a couple? I’m 30, make about $45,000 annually. My domestic partner is 34 and made $38,000 last year. How do we fit in?

Not Trump

Tom: In your case, the magic phrase is “domestic partner.”

Assuming that you file your taxes jointly, your combined income of $83,000 would identify you as a household of two and put you out of the range of $21,984—$63,720 that would make you eligible for a subsidy.

Al: I called Covered California this morning (Saturday, of course). Kay, a representative of Covered California, told me that if you were each filing your taxes as single or head of household, you could each file separately even though you’re in the same house.

Oddly enough, you could each qualify for a subsidy because the range for a household of one is $16,243 -$47,080.

Tom: So, Alan, you’re telling the young people to stay uncommitted?

Al: Absolutely not. However…

Last year I worked with an individual who lived with his daughter and his mother. They fall within the range for a household of three: $27,725—$80,360, and yes, they still will receive a subsidy.

Tom: Getting back to our reader, Not Trump, it’s important to note that the deadline for new applicants to secure a Jan. 1 effective date ended Dec. 15.

The open enrollment continues all the way to Jan. 31 for this go-round of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Applications received by Jan. 15 will get a Feb. 1 effective date. After Jan. 15, the earliest effective date will be March 1.

Al: Our table from Covered California only goes up to a household of five. The range for subsidies is $39,206—$113,640.

The table also gives the household income that qualifies people for Medi-Cal. For households of one to five, the income level is: less than $16,243; less than $21,984; less than $27,725; less than $33,466; and, finally, less than $39,206 for a household of five.

Tom: As mentioned in the last column, it is not unusual for a family on Covered California to be separated so that the parents are on a subsidized plan while the children are put on Medi-Cal.

A disconcerting feature of the online application process is that when the point is reached where the applicant(s) qualifies for Medi-Cal, everything stops and the applicant has to contact the county to continue the process of enrolling in Medi-Cal. A person will stay on Medi-Cal until or unless he/she receives notice otherwise.

Submit questions or reach the Health Insurance Guys at Schrette Insurance, 1556 First St., Suite 105, Napa, 94559; 255-9511; schrette@gmail.com; or alancash@gmail.com

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