10 Things You Need to Help You Navigate California’s Health Insurance Exchange

Covered California Health Care

Many question are arising around Covered California’s health insurance exchange, especially ones about income and household size.

Here are 10 FAQs and answers pertaining to the application process for Obamacare Health Insurance.

1. What should you include on your reported income?
The income you report for the Affordable Act insurance will, in most cases, mirror what the IRS calls adjusted gross income.

Check out this document created by UC Berkley’s Labor center for more help : laborcenter.berkeley.edu/healthcare/MAGI_summary13.pdf

2. Does Social Security count towards your income?
Social Security benefits , including Social Security Disability Insurance, should be included in your household income. Supplemental Security Income and veterans widow benefits are not included.

3. Do investments count towards your household income?
No, the only income is what’s listed on your tax return. However, any income you generate through selling stocks or drawing income against your investments must be included.

4. Who should I include when reporting the size of my household?
Your tax family is your household. Unless you claim someone as your dependent, they are not a part of your household.

5.What tax year are subsidies based on?
You will be asked for you expected income in 2014.

6. How can you accurately project next year’s earnings when you are self-employed?
You’ll be asked to make a reasonable estimate based on last year’s tax return, this year’s income and any other factors that might play into your income for 2014.

7. If you estimate your 2014 income incorrectly, will you owe money next year?
If you earn more income than expected, you will be required to pay back any excess amount from the subsidies at tax time.

8. If you file your  taxes separately, do you have to report your spouse’s income?
Yes, and in order to take advantage of a subsidy, you’ll have to start filing taxes jointly.

9. Have tax penalties been delayed, and does that mean you don’t have to buy health insurance?
Individuals will still have to pay tax penalties in 2014 if they don’t have health insurance coverage in 2014. The penalty ,which will be $95 or 1% of their income (whichever is greater), will be due when you file for taxes in 2015.

10.What other consumer resources can I turn to for help?
Call 800-300-1506 or visit http://www.coveredca.com/enrollment-assistance/ for assistance.


Kenneth G. Marks has been practicing personal injury law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1981. www.KmarksLaw.com