“I have coverage as a spouse through a settlement my husband received when he became disabled. My daughter (his step-daughter) cannot be covered on that plan, however. She is eighteen years old and lives with us. Will she qualify for a plan from the exchange? If so, what income would we list on her application – hers (which is zero), mine, or mine plus my husband’s?”
Dear Maine Mom,
She may qualify for a plan from the exchange, since she does not have an employer plan offered to her. I say “may” because the exchange requires buyers to come from households earning less than 400% of Federal Poverty. Four hundred percent of Federal Poverty for a household of three people is $78,120.
Both your and your husband’s incomes will count on her application for coverage, as long as you declare her as a dependent on your taxes. See IRS Publication 501 for the whole low down on what makes a child a dependent for tax purposes. Even if you and your husband file taxes separately, the exchange bases subsidies on household income.
Assuming that your household income is less than 400% and you want subsidies to pay for her plan, then the exchange is your next stop. Of course, the federal exchange is not working – or at least not working consistently – at the moment. You can contact insurers directly or work with an insurance broker to look at plans.