This week, we’ll return and conclude our discussion on health insurance.
Are you looking to enroll in a new insurance plan, but don’t know where to start? Have you lost your job and access to an affordable health insurance plan? Are you at a reduced income? Here are just a few things to know if you’re in the market for a new health insurance plan!
Typically, if you want to enroll in a new plan, you’ll have to do it during a specific window each year, known as the open enrollment period. There are exceptions, however – if you have a qualifying life event, such as getting married, having a baby, getting a divorce, or losing your job and/or health insurance plan, there is generally more flexibility with enrollment.
What if your employer does not provide access to an affordable health insurance plan? In 2010, the Affordable Care Act introduced the Health Insurance Marketplace, which provides subsidies in the form of tax credits to those below 400% of the federal poverty level. For reference, 400% of the federal poverty level for a family of four would equal a household income of about $105,000.
If you make less than 138% of the federal poverty level, which is roughly equal to a household income of about $36,000 for a family of four, you may qualify for the federal Medicaid health insurance program. However, this income limit depends on whether or not your state opted in to the Medicaid expansion, another facet of the Affordable Care Act. For states that opted out, the income limit may be below 138% of the federal poverty level. Fortunately, in 2018, Virginia opted in to the Medicaid expansion. Depending on your state, your Medicaid coverage may have no premiums, no deductibles, but may require you to spend a certain amount of your countable resources before Medicaid will begin paying for medical costs.
If you’re below 300% of the federal poverty level (which is roughly equal to a household income of about $78,000 for a family of four), while you may not qualify for Medicaid yourself, your children may, in which case you can get in touch with your local Department of Social Services about enrollment.
Next week, we’ll return and discuss homeowner’s insurance.