I am almost 60 and my income is around 100K. If I lose my job in 2013, can I get any financial support in 2014?
Question: I am almost 60 and my annual household income is around 100K. If I lose my job at the end of 2013, can I get any financial support in 2014? According to the formula, I will not get any tax credit; so I have to pay $1,200 per month to cover me and my wife(she has no income). This has to come from my savings and it can be a problem when I have no income. At 60, I do not expect to find a job soon. Does it have a system to adjust the premium within 2014?
Answer: The subsidy you receive on an exchange is based on your income during the year the policy is in force. That means the subsidy for a policy that is effective in 2014 would be based on your 2014 income. The exchange will ask for your 2013 income when you apply for coverage as an estimate of your expected earnings in 2014. However, you can provide a more realistic estimate, if you do lose your job. If it varies by more than 10 percent from the 2013 amount, you may be asked for documentation or, if you have none, for an attestation of the change.
You can also request an adjustment to your premium during the year, if your income changes. However, regardless of the amount you estimate, it will be reconciled with your actual 2014 income after the year ends, so you may qualify for a subsidy, or owe the government a refund for one, retroactively.
Bear in mind that if you lose your job during 2014, you can apply for insurance on an exchange at that time. You are not limited by the open enrollment period, which ends on March 31. Job loss is considered a qualifying event, and you can purchase coverage whenever it occurs.
Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. is a professor of law at the Earle Mack School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University. He also writes for The Field Clinic blog. Ask Rob your questions about the new healthcare law.