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What if you have no income for obamacare?

Here's what you need to know...
  • Obamacare includes Health Plans, Medicaid, and CHIPs
  • Obamacare Health Plans require a minimum Income
  • Family Plans can include persons with no income
  • Medicaid and CHIPs do not require a minimum income
  • The Individual Mandate requires insurance but provides exemptions exempts those with no income
  • Supplemental Security Income does not count as income for Obamacare

Income can play a critical role in Obamacare coverage for individuals. The Affordable Care Act requires individuals to get and maintain health insurance coverage or pay a penalty for every uninsured month of the calendar year. Comparison shopping is the best way to find the right plan for an individual or family situation. This includes households in which one or more persons is a dependent or has no income. Start comparing health insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Income is not a factor for Premium Cost

The Affordable Care Act reformed the health insurance industry in some fundamental ways. It prohibits denial of coverage for a pre-existing condition and it guarantees ten essential health benefits in every plan without additional charges. Insurers may no longer charge more for persons with low income or poor credit ratings. Credit risk is not one of the permitted factors. The permitted factors are as follows below:

  1. Age
  2. Tobacco usage
  3. Location
  4. Individual versus family status
  5. Plan category ( Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Catastrophic)

Not All Income Counts

The basic rule on counts income from any source as income for Obamacare purposes. This specifically includes income from Social Security and most retirement payments such as pensions. Tax-free income from a Roth IRA or other nontaxable disbursements will count as income for Obamacare purposes. This is both helpful to some applicants and limiting to others.

For some applicants, the broad income rule helps them qualify by giving them more than the minimum income required for a Marketplace Plan.

For other applicants, it might move income above the 400 percent of federal poverty guideline amount. If above 400 percent, they cannot get Obamacare financial benefits. Supplemental Security Income for severely disabled, blind, and poor residents is not income for Obamacare purposes.

Family Plans

If there are members of the household unit with no income, then they could not qualify for individual health plans. Individual health plans require a minimum income level. Individuals with no income can be part of a family plan. This is true for dependent children and children under age 26. The Affordable Care Act permits children to stay on their parent’s policies up to age 26.

Open Enrollment for All Plans

Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2015, through January 31, 2016. It is the time authorized by the Affordable Care Act for sign-up, renewal or changing plans. It is the only time that everyone can sign-up, renew, or change plans. After Open Enrollment, one must qualify for a special enrollment period.

Changing Plans

Open Enrollment is also the time when everyone can change a plan. For example, one can change from a family plan to an individual plan, or vice versa, join a family plan. The income test for a family plan uses the adjusted family or household income. Individuals with low or no income can join a family plan for coverage.

Referral for Medicaid

Persons that do not meet the minimum income level needed for Obamacare Health Plans get an automatic assessment and referral for Medicaid coverage. Whether using the federal or state exchange, the process includes a referral for other assistance. In states that have adopted Obamacare Medicaid expansion the threshold for Medicaid falls immediately below the floor for Health Plans so that everyone can get essential health benefits and affordable coverage.

  • Medicare has no minimum income requirement
  • CHIPs have no minimum income requirement
  • Medicare and CHIPs have no Open Enrollment Restriction

Life Events

After Open Enrollment, the rule is that no one can sign-up for Obamacare Health plans until the next open sign-up period. The exceptions are for government extensions of enrollment and Life Events. One of the events that trigger a 60 day special enrollment period is losing health insurance coverage as a dependent. The Affordable Care Act requires plans to provide coverage for dependents and children up to age 26. A 26th birthday is a Life Event for a covered dependent because he or she loses coverage. The Life Events include the below-listed items.

  • Loss of coverage at age 26
  • Loss of coverage as a dependent
  • Loss of coverage due to job loss
  • Moving to a different state
  • Giving Birth or adopting a child
  • Marriage or divorce

Family Includes Partners

Family plans cover persons that live as partners and form a household. This includes all persons regardless of gender. Same-sex couples can form families for health insurance purposes. The Affordable Care Act seeks to cover as many people as possible and improve the level of health and health care across the US.

Persons with Low Income

The test of income for Obamacare is related to the tax powers of the federal government. Those citizens whose income ranks below the filing threshold do not have to file tax returns.

They do not have to meet the Individual mandate because those below the filing threshold are exempt.

There are advantages to filing a tax return when not required, and that is to help establish eligibility for other types of health coverage. Filing while below the threshold helps qualify persons for Medicaid for adults and CHIPs for children.

Persons with No Income

Income is a requirement for Obamacare; its health plans require a minimum income. However, each person does not have to have an income when an Obamacare program uses family or household income. For example, the Affordable Care Act specifically allows children under age 26 to stay on a parent’s or family policy without regard to minimum income. Comparison shopping is the method that produces the best options for health insurance coverage. Both on and outside the Obamacare marketplace, comparison shopping puts a focus on the most important features for the individual or family subscribers. Start comparing health insurance rates now by using our FREE tool below!

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