Help me understand my options RE: Obamacare

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was announced, I supported it. This was when I was single with no dependents. Time has passed since then, and I still support the underlying principle of the act, but now I am married and I have one child.

Here is a quick breakdown of my scenario. My wife works for a company that provides her with healthcare coverage that fits the ACA’s definition of “affordable”. While she is allowed to add me and our son to her insurance, the premiums that we would be charged would NOT meet the definition of “affordable”. I work for a company that does not offer healthcare insurance. Together we make about $58,000 annually. My wife dedicates $2500 to a Flex Plan. We generally use the entire $2500 every year but not much extra.

Because of the inaccurately dubbed “family glitch”, my son and I do not qualify for any discount by buying from the Marketplace. My son and I together qualify for healthcare plans ranging from $225/mo on up, but even the lowest end options are a hard sell for us (no health issues, healthy child, etc). The copay for said plan is the same price as what it costs to see our doctor out of pocket, and the deductible is an astronomical $12,700. We could definitely use the $2700/year on something more tangible.

So what are my options? Buy insurance that doesn’t cover anything? Pay a fee to not have insurance? And how does that work? Even though my wife has insurance do we still calculate our fee with both salaries? Please help me to make the most cost-effective decision.

In your calculations, did you include any tax credit from the various Obamacare plans for which you might be eligible? You don’t see that money right away, but it reduces your tax liability dollar-for-dollar when you file the next year. I don’t know the income thresholds for the subsidies, but it seems that your family income is relatively modest.

Your options are the same now as they were before Obamacare. Your mistake is in leaving risk out of your cost/benefit analysis. Without insurance you are running an unacceptable (and foolish) risk of incurring medical bills that will bankrupt your family. No matter how healthy you are you have no idea what will happen tomorrow, and there ain’t nothing free. Sounds like the kid needs to go on his Mom’s policy and you need to shop around for a cheap policy that’ll protect you from a catastrophe.
The system blows for us poor folks, and it ain’t getting nothin but worse…

What’s the family glitch?

I just read about it. Let me make sure I have this right. If my employer offers health coverage, and allows me to add my family to the coverage, then the ACA determines their eligibility for subsidies based on whether my employer-offered coverage is more than 9.5% of my family’s income? It doesn’t take into account how much the employer charges for additional family members?

The way the fine or tax penalty works is that any tax/fine can only be withheld from a tax refund you may get when you file. If you are not going to get a refund you do not have to worry about paying the penalty.

Congress pulled the IRS’ teeth as part on this plan and they cannot use any of their usual methods for collecting this money, like placing a lien on your property or seizing your bank accounts.

So if you really don’t want to pay the tax adjust your withholding deductions so that you won’t get a refund. Increase the number of deductions on your W-4 form and pay some tax at the end of the year.

Yes , that’s how it works.

He said: “my son and I do not qualify for any discount by buying from the Marketplace”. The “tax credit” that you’re talking about is the “discount” that he is talking about. They are the same thing - you can elect to make the tax credit apply to premiums immediately, then it becomes a “discount”.

Well crap. Our kids are currently on Medicare (Medicaid? I always get them mixed up) . My wife has been looking for a job but now we’ll have to math it out to make sure we wouldn’t be losing money on insurance if we had the additional income! With child care plus insurance plus taxes plus additional student loan payments under income based repayment, there’s a possibility full time employment would make for a net loss!