Medicaid and marriage — what might change

“I have three children and am on Medicaid.  My boyfriend wants to get married, but I’m afraid that I’ll lose my Medicaid.  What should I do?”

Maybe Wedding Belle

Dear Maybe Wedding Belle,

If you get married, your new spouse’s income would get factored into your Medicaid application. Your new (presumably higher) income may be too high to allow you to stay on Medicaid. The specific income limits depend upon what state you live in.

The “Medicaid expansion” is available in some states, and makes people (or families) with incomes up to 138% of Federal Poverty eligible. Look for your state on the Kaiser Family Foundation list.

If your new spouse has an employer-based health plan offered to him/her, then you should look at how much it would cost to cover you and the children on that plan.  Health reform does not set guidelines for “affordability” on employer’s plans for family coverage.  As long as the plan costs less than 9.5% of his income to cover just himself, then it is considered affordable.  It may cost a great deal more than 9.5% to cover you and the children.

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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.