Can my family purchase insurance even if my employer provides affordable coverage?

A reader asks if she and her family can purchase federal insurance even if her employer provides her with affordable coverage.

Question: I have heard that I can't go to the exchange to buy health insurance if the insurance my employer provides is affordable to me (based on my household income). But, does this mean that my husband also can't go to the exchange for insurance? What about our kids?


Answer: You, your husband, and your children can all obtain coverage on an insurance exchange, even though your employer offers insurance that is considered affordable. However, subsidies would not be available to help with the cost. As an alternative, your children may be eligible for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at no or minimal cost, if your family income falls below the cutoff for eligibility.


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.