Q: I am my mother’s caregiver; she has dementia and lives with me. Do I have to include her income when figuring out my premium for the new health insurance? Also, when I go on Social Security, will that count toward my income when figuring my premium? L. Ward from Riverview
A: This was a tough one. I scoured websites for both the Healthcare Marketplace (healthcare.gov) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.org), but couldn’t find a definitive answer. So I asked several experts, including Nicole Rish, president of the Tampa Bay Association of Health Underwriters.
Rish said that if you include your mother as a dependent on your tax return, her income will be a factor in determining your premium and if you are eligible for a subsidy.
There are a lot of requirements for determining if an elderly parent qualifies as a dependent. You can read up on that at IRS.gov if you haven’t already done so.
The answer to your question about your eventual eligibility for Social Security depends on whether you also become eligible for Medicare at that time. Medicare — government-subsidized insurance for Americans 65 and older — is not part of the online Healthcare Marketplace. That online exchange is the only place where you can earn a subsidy for insurance premiums.