Wednesday, September 21, 2022

How Does Obamacare Work For The Unemployed

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Discouraged Workers Are Not The Answer

Obamacare lawsuit moves forward as newly unemployed apply

Some possible explanations up until this point were that people had given up looking for work and so they were no longer counted as unemployed under the standard U-3 definition. This would of course make the U-3 number look better but wouldnt indicate an improving economy. However logical this possibility sounds, the data does not hold up. If we look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for Unemployed persons by duration of unemployment we can see that the number of people unemployed for more than 27 weeks in September 2011 was 6,217,000 but in September 2012 that number had fallen to 4,835,000 so the long term unemployed had fallen considerably.

In the table below we see the number of discouraged workers in thousands according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Once again we see the number of discouraged workers declining.

Year
802

Businesses Are Cutting Employee Hours To Avoid Covering Employees

Opponents of Obamacare claimed the legislation would destroy jobs. The number of full-time jobs has gone up in recent years, but there are still reports of businesses cutting hours from employee schedules.

Business with 50 or more full-time employees must offer insurance or make payments to cover healthcare expenses for employees. By reducing hours, businesses are able to get by the 30-hour-per-week definition of a full-time employee.

Fafsa Treatment Of Unemployment Benefits In 2021 And Beyond

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The American Rescue Plan Act made the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits tax-free per taxpayer for those with incomes under $150,000.

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You Can Be Fined If You Dont Have Insurance

The goal of Obamacare is for people to be insured year round. If youre uninsured and dont obtain an exemption, you must pay a modest fine. Recent events have changed this fine, and beginning with the tax year 2019 it will be eliminated.

Some people think its intrusive for the government to require health insurance. ACA supporters argue that not having insurance passes your healthcare costs on to everyone else.

How Is Income Verified

Union Health Plans Will Suffer under Obamacare

Washington Healthplanfinder uses Social Security data and other electronic data available from various federal agencies to verify household income provided on an application. In cases where the information entered cannot be verified, more information will be requested. To keep your coverage, youll need to submit the requested information in the specified time frame.

Had a life change recently?

It is important to keep you application information current.

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The Affordable Care Act

Under the Affordable Care Act federal law, unemployed workers can also find health insurance through the governments Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace provides individuals a way to purchase health insurance.

Normally, people need to apply for health insurance in the Marketplace during a particular enrollment period. However, if you leave a job outside of the normal enrollment period, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. This means that, once you leave your job, you have a 60-day enrollment window to shop and enroll in a health plan through the Marketplace.

Your health insurance options will vary depending on your income and household size.

How Big Will Your Subsidy Be

You can use our subsidy calculator to see the subsidy amount that will be available to you. For people receiving unemployment compensation, the exchange will disregard any income above 139% of the poverty level for 2021.

The 2020 poverty level numbers are used to determine subsidy eligibility for 2021, so you can find the poverty level for your household size, multiply it by 1.39, and enter that number into the subsidy calculator. And if you need help finding a plan, our direct enrollment entity can provide assistance.

Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.

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Modified Adjusted Gross Income

When determining eligibility for certain Medicaid programs, MDHHS will look at your households size and its Modified Adjusted Gross Income . MAGI is often the same amount as the Internal Revenue Services number for Adjusted Gross Income. MAGI is used to determine eligibility for tax credits for people who get their insurance through the insurance marketplace for HMP. MDHHS also uses MAGI when determining eligibility for certain TM categories.

Some examples of groups of people MAGI applies to are:

  • Childless adults between 19 and 64
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are parents or are a caretaker of a dependent child

Some examples of groups of people that MAGI does not apply to are:

  • People 65 or older, blind, or disabled
  • People getting long-term care services
  • People eligible for or who get Medicare

If you have concerns about how your MAGI is being calculated, you can speak with someone at the Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program . MMAP is a free, state-wide counseling service designed to help people with questions about health care.

Your local legal services office may also be able to help you. Use the Guide to Legal Help to find a legal services office near you. Even if they are not able to represent you, they could still offer you advice and other help.

Self-Employment and MAGI

Changing The Healthcare Landscape

SPECIAL REPORT: Obamacare: Insurance Line or Unemployment Line?

Obamacare is not just about everyone getting health insurance in fact, it aimed to revolutionize how healthcare is delivered. The act mandated that doctors, hospitals and pharmacists should work together throughout the process with proper documentation required. The ACA also formalized the recording of medical electronics electronically rather than on paper.

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Prescription Drugs Cost Less

The ACA promised to make prescription drugs more affordable. Many people, particularly senior citizens, are unable to afford all their medications. The number of prescription and generic drugs covered by the ACA is growing every year.

According to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services press release from 2017, Medicare beneficiaries have saved over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs under Obamacare.

Theres No Federal Tax Penalty For Being Uninsured

Legally, the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare still says that you must have health insurance. Practically speaking, however, the tax penalty for being uninsured has dropped to zero. That means youll still have to report your coverage status on your federal tax return, but you wont have to pay a penalty if you arent covered.

A handful of states have passed health insurance requirements to replace the federal mandate. As we approach open enrollment for 2022 health plans, those states are California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

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Medicaid And Childrens Health Insurance

State and federal governments both kick in to pay for these programs, which provide free or low-cost healthcare for low earners, some disabled people and children up to age 19. In recent years, 38 states and the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid programs to provide care for all people who earn below a state-defined poverty level, often 138% of modified adjusted gross income , as defined by the federal government. Others consider assets and define eligibility more narrowly. Use this questionnaire to see if you are likely to qualify.

Some adults who live in the12 states that havent expanded Medicaid may find themselves earning too little to qualify for ACA coverage but too much to qualify for Medicaid.6 Finding work, even self-employment could increase your reported income above the minimum, and help you get around this problem.

How Coronavirus Stimulus Payments Affect Your Household Income

Amid pandemic, unemployment, Joe Biden opens new Obamacare ...

The federal governments economic impact payments and the states new stimulus payment may have you wondering how to calculate your household income, whether you want to apply for health insurance right now during special enrollment or report a change to your income.

There are a few different types of stimulus payments: federal stimulus payments, Pandemic Unemployment Compensation , and the Golden State Stimulus payment. Its important to understand which payments you need to include while calculating your household income because this determines which programs you qualify for and how much financial help you get.

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Options If You Need Health Insurance But Have No Income

If you currently have no earnings and want to get health insurance, you have choices, but they may be limited.

The best option for people with no income would be Medicaid. Each state has its own Medicaid program and, although its not always called Medicaid, each Medicaid program is designed to provide medical insurance to low-income individuals and families, explains Bartleson. He says the easiest way to find your states Medicaid program and apply is to search online.

If you have children or minor dependents and meet the requirements, you can enroll them in your states Childrens Health Insurance Program , says Brian Martucci, the Minneapolis-based finance editor for Money Crashers.

As with Medicaid, CHIP income eligibility varies by state, but the limits can be more generous than for Medicaid, Martucci adds.

American Rescue Plan Lowers Health Insurance Costs For Americans Who May Have Lost Their Job

As part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is again lowering the cost of health insurance and opening more pathways for Americans to obtain affordable and comprehensive health coverage. Starting July 1, 2021, consumers who received or are approved to receive unemployment compensation for any week beginning in 2021 may be able to find even lower cost plans and save extra money on out-of-pocket expenses through HealthCare.gov.

To take advantage of these additional savings, consumers who received or have been approved for unemployment compensation in 2021 need to visit HealthCare.gov to submit a new application or update their existing application to maximize the savings they can get for the rest of 2021. An average of three out of five eligible uninsured Americans can access $0 plans after advance payments of tax credits and an average of four out of five current HealthCare.gov consumers will be able to find a plan for $10 or less per month after advance payments of tax credits. CMS encourages current consumers who have received unemployment income for any week beginning in 2021 to update their application and enrollment between July 1 and August 15to maximize the savings on their Marketplace coverage for the rest of the year.

Health Insurance Marketplace® is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Makes Coverage More Affordable For Many Americans

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed H.R.1319, the American Rescue Plan Act, into law. This sweeping piece of legislation is designed to provide widespread relief to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a vast range of provisions.

Among the most widely known are the third round of stimulus checks, enhanced child tax credits, and the extension of additional federal unemployment compensation.

But the legislation also includes several important provisions that make health insurance more affordable for millions of Americans. Lets take a look at how the provisions work and what consumers can expect:

  • Subsidy cliff temporarily eliminated for marketplace enrollees
  • Enhanced premium tax credits in 2021 and 2022 for people who are already subsidy-eligible
  • Full premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for people receiving unemployment compensation in 2021
  • Six months of COBRA subsidies
  • Excess premium subsidies from 2020 do not have to be repaid to the IRS

No Repayment Of 2020 Excess Premium Subsidies

How Obamacare Caused Unemployment

Premium tax credits are the key to keeping individual/family coverage affordable. Ever since the marketplaces debuted for 2014 coverage, a large majority of enrollees have been eligible for premium tax credits.

Unlike other tax credits, you dont have to wait to claim the premium tax credits on your tax return. You can do that if you like, but most people who are subsidy-eligible cannot afford to pay full price for their coverage throughout the year and then claim the full tax credit on their tax return.

Instead, most people take the tax credit in advance: The marketplace calculates it based on projected income and then sends it to the persons insurance company each month, offsetting the amount that the enrollee has to pay themselves.

This works well, except it all has to be reconciled with the IRS after the year is over. If a premium tax credit was paid on your behalf during the year, you have to complete Form 8962 when you file your taxes. By then, youll be using your actual income, as opposed to your projected income.

Depending on whether your income ended up being more or less than you projected, you might get additional money from the IRS at tax timeor you might have to repay some or all of the tax credit that was paid on your behalf.

In late 2020, insurance commissioners from several states sent a letter to incoming President Biden, asking him to address this issue and ensure that people would not have to repay excess premium tax credits from 2020.

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Spouses Or Parents Health Insurance Plan

We saved this option for last for a reason. Sometimes, being on your spouses plan isnt the most cost-effective option in typical circumstancesthats why you arent already on the same plan! And most people dont actually want to put their health care burden on a parent. But lets face itit could be the right move for a season.

If youre unemployed and married and your spouse has health insurance through their employer, you can be included on their policy in most cases. Or if youre under 26 years old, youre legally eligible to be included on your parents insurance policy.4

How The Aca Has Improved Healthcare Access In The United States

Anya Rader Wallack, PhD, associate director of the Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health and a professor of the practice in the Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice within Brown Universitys School of Public Health, told Healthline the controversy surrounding Obamacare is ironic to her, given that it is not one of the more radical proposals for health reform.

Progressive critics of the ACA say it doesnt go far enough in guaranteeing healthcare for all citizens. It falls short of the vision of a single-payer system like Medicare for All, which would mean a sole public health system would exist, like those in Canada and some countries in Europe.

While the ACA might not fall in that category of reform, Wallack said that it did set a new bar in terms of fairness across the market.

While she said total 50-statewide Medicaid expansion as was originally intended would have been significant, the fact that the majority of states have now chosen that option is, in her view, the most radical part of the law.

Wallack said this means a single parent or a pregnant woman or a child, for instance, has that added level of security in knowing they can get covered. She said states that enabled this resulted in the most significant bump in coverage, like what was witnessed in her own state of Rhode Island.

He said while progress has been lower than anticipated or desired, this incremental method of improvement has been in the right direction.

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Taxes Are Going Up As A Result Of The Aca

Several new taxes were passed into law to help pay for the ACA, including taxes on medical device and pharmaceutical sales. Taxes were also increased for people with high incomes. Funding also comes from savings in Medicare payments.

The wealthy are helping to subsidize insurance for the poor. Some economists, however, predict that in the long term, the ACA will help reduce the deficit and may eventually have a positive impact on the budget.

What Percentage Of Health Insurance Do Employers Typically Pay

Obamacare isn

Most employees who are covered through employer-sponsored plan make some kind of contribution to the cost of their monthly premiums. Employees contributed an average of $104 per month to their employer-sponsored insurance in 2019, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Employees at small businesses typically contribute a higher percentage of the premium for family coverage than employees at larger companies. And on average, employees who work for companies with a larger amount of lower-wage workers contribute more towards their monthly premiums for both single coverage and family coverage than employees do at companies with fewer low-wage workers.

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