Q: I’m single, 60, work two part-time jobs and make around $17,000. My current health insurance is $522 a month, up $100 a month this past July. How do I get the subsidy under the new law? I don’t want to go the Medicaid route, although I have already been told by some I will have to. So, where do I stand? ¬- Robert from New Port Richey
A: First, you will be required to get insurance to avoid a penalty, and odds are very likely your employers won’t have options for you. Second, if you want any kind of help paying for that insurance, you must shop on the online Healthcare Marketplace or exchange, which in Florida is being run by the federal government.
Your $17,000 in annual income is 149 percent of the federal poverty level, meaning you should get substantial help paying a monthly premium. It also means you do NOT qualify for Medicaid in Florida.
I suggest you check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s cool subsidy calculator. They used general information known about the law to estimate the subsidies you may get. (It’s at http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/).
Know that various factors can affect the amount you pay for insurance on the exchange, such as whether you smoke or the money another member of your home makes. For example, if you don’t smoke, a plan could cost you about $660 a year, according to the calculator. If you do smoke, plan on forking out $4,756.
The subsidy the government would pay is more than $7,500 in both cases.