Many people do not update their income every year. While the income stays static, the threshold for Medi-Cal creeps up. The 2022 federal poverty levels are being applied for the 2023 Covered California subsidy and Medi-Cal eligibility. Many families are being caught by surprise that their current income is too low to maintain subsidies for their children.
Household Income Levels
Posts related to eligibility for health care programs based on household income such as Covered California, Medi-Cal, Medicare usually based on federal poverty levels.
People mistakenly believe that their past federal income tax return is used for their future income estimate. The past tax return can be a guide to estimating the income, but it is not final determination. One problem with federal tax returns is they usually don’t capture Social Security retirement benefits or tax-exempt interest, both of which are included in the Modified Adjusted Gross Income.
When you continue to review the plan options, the next screen is a confirmation of your existing health plan. Click on Back to Shopping. Another popup window will show and is sort of a warning. However, to review the options, click on Remove Existing Plans & Go Shopping. You will then be shown all the plans for the entire household or selected individual with the applicable subsidy applied.
The total annual premiums for the entire household are used for the affordability test for the other household members. (This calculation can be made on a monthly basis as well.) The total annual premiums for everyone offered the lowest cost health insurance is $15,147.84 That annual premium is 18.93 percent of the $80,000 estimated household income. Because the health insurance expense percentage is greater than 9.12 percent, it is deemed unaffordable, Pat, Bobby, and Catlin can enroll in a market place ACA health plan with the subsidies.
The income chart uses columns with specific percentages to display the annual income amounts necessary for different program eligibilities based on household size, rows. What can be confusing is that an income chart will be published where the math doesn’t work. For example, the federal poverty level (FPL) income for an individual is the 100% column. The next column is 138% FPL. On the 03/2022 income chart, the annual income amount in the 138% FPL column, $18,755, is higher than the 100% column of $12,880 x 1.38 = $17,774.
The income section of the Covered California application is very date sensitive. If your application does not show any income in the month you are applying, you will be determined eligible for Medi-Cal. This is because Covered California screens for Medi-Cal eligibility based on your monthly income, regardless of how much income you earned prior to applying for Covered California.
The minimum annual income in order to become eligible for the Covered California health insurance subsidies for a single adult is $18,756 for 2022. That is $980 higher than the minimum annual income for 2021, approximately a 6 percent increase. The minimum amount for 2 adults is $25,269 annual income. Estimated income amounts below 138 percent of the federal poverty level on the Covered California application will make the household eligible for Medi-Cal.
If you indicate that your income in 2022 will begin on January 1, 2022, and you are applying in December, Covered California will determine you have NO income for December and are therefore eligible for Medi-Cal.
The “California Premium Credit Program” is not an eligibility-based program. Starting plan year 2022, the $1 state premium credit will apply to both subsidized and unsubsidized Covered California QHP enrollees, including the catastrophic QHP enrollees but will exclude individuals in a dental-only plan.
The unemployment subsidy benefit further increased the subsidy. Because everyone was now eligible for the Enhanced Silver 94 plan, we switched this member from the Gold to the Silver plan. The new subsidy of $1,016.53 dropped the health plan rate to $1 per month. The better member cost-sharing for copayments and coinsurance will save the family even more money.