Affordable Care: parent on Medicare/Medicaid, son needs options

I am a 20 year old male in Missouri.  For Obama Care will I be exempt?  It states that a child can be on the parent’s plan until age 26, but my mother gets Medicare and Medicaid and I do not qualify for either of these programs.  I make about $8,000 a year and am a college student living at home. I understand that anyone making less than the filing threshold for taxes is exempt. I however still file taxes as I usually get a refund. How will the IRS know that I’m exempt?

Also, say I don’t get insurance and I am exempt.  When I file my taxes will they fine me and take it out of my taxes?

Show Me Stater

Dear Show Me Stater,

You are correct that anyone earning less than the tax filling threshold is exempt.  You will not be fined or taxed when you file for your refund.  Your tax filing will include your gross wages, which will show the IRS that you are below the threshold.

Missouri is not planning to expand Medicaid, so you are also correct that you will not qualify for that.  Many health economists believe that all states will eventually take the Medicaid expansion.  So, perhaps in the future, you will be able to apply for Medicaid.  In your state, you will also not qualify for subsidies to purchase a plan on the health insurance exchanges.  It’s a strange situation in these states: people earning less than 133% of Federal Poverty ($15,282 for a one-person household) cannot get subsidies.  People earning 133% or more do get subsidies.

In the meantime, if you want health insurance, you could ask your school about their program.  You may be able to get scholarships to pay the cost of the insurance.  The school’s program is likely to be cheaper than other options.  Otherwise, the school may have information for you about free or sliding-scale clinics where you can get primary care.  For emergencies, a hospital cannot legally turn you away but they can charge you for your emergency room visit.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.