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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Single and 30-something with a seasonal job. What are my options?

Q: The employment market is horrible. I am a single 30-something with a seasonal job and uncertain future. I do not have insurance supplied by my employer and cannot afford any premium myself. How do I fit into Obamacare? What will I have to pay? Will I be fined and how? — Alfred of Tampa

A: I can’t say for sure, but it’s likely you will either be eligible for subsidized health insurance or will be exempt from penalties for not having insurance.

Working individuals with no access to health insurance can shop for health insurance on the Healthcare Marketplace. That also applies to people whose workplace insurance adds up to more than 9.5 percent of their income.

The amount you pay for a monthly premium will depend on how much you make at your job. In Florida, the government will help pay for anyone who makes between 100 percent of the federal poverty level ($11,490) and roughly $46,000 a year.

Say you make $15,000 a year and sign up for a plan that covers all but 30 percent of your health care costs. According to Kaiser Family Foundation estimates, you would pay $25 a month for health insurance; the government would pick up the remaining $2,700 in premium costs. The subsidy shrinks the more you make.

In Florida, there currently is no marketplace option for adults younger than 65 who make below the poverty level. Several areas, including Tampa, have programs that provide some free assistance. Check out the Hillsborough County Health Care plan if you are in this group.

There are many exemptions to the insurance penalty that will be determined and enforced by the Internal Revenue Service. You do not have to get insurance or pay a penalty if you:

* go without insurance for three months or less;

* have income too low to file a tax return;

* have no affordable insurance options;

* would qualify for Medicaid expansion but your state does not offer it (Florida is not expanding Medicaid);

* are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe;

* have religious objections to health insurance; or

* participate in a health care sharing ministry.

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