Q: I am 71 and on Medicare. My husband, 58, has no income and is applying for insurance on the new Marketplace. Do my Social Security benefits and my retirement IRAs count toward “family income” on his application, since I am above the age of 65 threshold? — Ann, Lakeview
Answer: If your husband has no access to affordable health insurance, such as a policy through an employer, he is a likely candidate for the online Health Insurance Marketplace. That’s the only place where an individual can apply and get financial assistance from the government to help pay the monthly premiums for insurance.
Assistance is determined based on household income, or the “Modified Adjusted Gross Income.” In general, taxable amounts of pensions, annuity or IRA distributions and Social Security benefits are included in that calculation. The University of California at Berkley has a neat explainer on how you can calculate this using your federal income tax filing from last year. It’s at http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/healthcare/MAGI_summary13.pdf.
It’s important to know that subsidies will be available for households earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. A two-person household would be eligible for varying subsidies and tax credits at an annual income between $15,510 and $62,040.
Florida is one of 25 states that is not expanding Medicaid, the government’s insurance for the poor, disabled and children. That has created what some call a coverage gap. It means that if your household income is less than $15,510 a year, your husband will be able to buy insurance on the exchange, but he won’t qualify for any subsidies.