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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Will my income from dividends preclude me from getting insurance subsidies?

Q: I am unemployed, 59, and get a little money from dividends (about $13,000 a year). Right now, I have an individual insurance policy. Am I eligible for subsidies? — Patty from Tampa

A: Your basic information makes you a prime candidate for buying insurance on the federal Healthcare Marketplace, at www.healthcare.org. Individuals who buy their own plans and the uninsured are expected to make up the vast majority of those eligible for shopping on this exchange and earning potential subsidies.

Your income is very low, just 113 percent of the federal poverty level. Dividends are considered part of your gross income, and are part of the calculation for assistance with health costs.

The Affordable Care Act will provide subsidies on a sliding scale for people earning up to 400 percent of poverty level. The less you make, the larger the subsidy to help cover your monthly premium.

Your costs also will depend on whether you smoke or use tobacco. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidy calculator (www.kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator) offers a ballpark estimate on what you would pay in monthly premiums: $260 a year if you don’t smoke; $4,188 a year if you do.

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