The failure on the part of Covered California is that they waited two weeks before generating a letter to the consumer explaining the situation. While the letter apologizes for the error, they never really spell out how or why it happened. It is sad the family had to learn from their health plan that their monthly bill was being adjusted.
Posts related to the California Premium Subsidy, which is a health insurance subsidy targeted on income of 400% - 600%.
Joe and Jan report the income change to Covered California in June so the new lower subsidy will take affect July 1. Much to their surprise, instead of a $850 subsidy, they only receive a $500 subsidy. Their health insurance premium will double! Why? Because they already used $7,200 of the new lower $10,200 subsidy at the higher income amount.
There really is no mystery as to why the Covered California income chart doesn’t match the Medi-Cal federal poverty level income table. Covered California is working with two different programs. They must screen for MAGI Medi-Cal eligibility based on current monthly income and the latest federal poverty levels, and, they must also determine the Advance Premium Tax Credit subsidies following IRS guidelines that use the previous year’s federal poverty levels. And if you follow all of that, you are smarter than me!
The Social Security retirement income is really important. Your spouse may be on Medicare, and not seeking health insurance, but if they are receiving Social Security retirement benefits, that income, even though it may not be fully taxed, it must be included in the Modified Adjusted Gross Income. Many families have failed to include the Social Security retirement benefits in their income estimated and then found they earned too much money to qualify for the Premium Tax Credit subsidy and they had to pay it all back.
I was in attendance at a Covered California meeting in Sacramento where agents asked if Covered California was going to publicize the individual mandate penalty in their marketing campaign for open enrollment. Executive Director Peter Lee told the audience that Covered California marketing would focus on the new California Premium Subsidy and not the penalty. But now, Covered California is using the argument that thousands of people don’t know about the penalty, when they are in charge of making California residents aware of the individual mandate penalty.
In the spirit of Covered California and an open market place, agents should be offering information on all health plans available to the individual or family in their region. If a marketing program is designed to restrict consumer information or attempts to steer consumers into a specific health plan, the loser is the consumer. This sort of devious marketing arrangement is made even more egregious when the bait to entice a consumer is a government funded subsidy.
Will I be able to keep my current health plan? If you have a health plan bought directly from a health insurance company – also known as off-exchange – you might be able to enroll in the same plan. Not all health plans offered direct to consumers off-exchange are available through Covered California. For example, if you have a Kaiser Silver HDHP HSA compatible plan, it is not offered through Covered California. You would need to select one of the plans Covered California offers in order to get the subsidy.
The Covered California Premium Subsidy for health insurance is in addition to any federal ACA subsidy. It is also available for households who don’t qualify for the federal subsidy such as incomes over 400% of the federal poverty level. The subsidy estimator is an online tool to determine if your household might qualify for the […]
When the Covered California system is in the renewal mode, changes to your household will affect enrollment and subsidies for 2020. If you need to make changes for 2019, you will want to go through the Report A Change function on the home page.
For the California Premium Subsidy, you will reconcile that subsidy amount with the Franchise Tax Board when you file your state income tax return. And this is where it gets complicated and a potential headache for tax prepares. If your income is between 200% and 400% of the FPL you potentially could be receiving 2 subsidies, one from the feds and one from the state. If you earn over 400% of the FPL you will only get a subsidy from California.