My husband and I have six children. Our household income is around $37,000. My job offers health insurance, but it would cost almost a third of my pay to cover our family. I cannot afford to do that, for obvious reasons. I then found out that we cannot get any help to buy health insurance, because my employer has a plan that is “affordable”. (They cover me for no cost; the family plan is fully paid by the employee.) There is nowhere for me to turn, except to pay the penalty for having no coverage. Is there any other way?
Hectic Household in Maine
Dear Hectic Household,
At $37,000 per year, your household of eight people is at less than 100 percent of Federal Poverty. This means that your six children qualify for Medicaid, which is free except for small co-pays. There is no “asset test” for covering children, so you can have retirement accounts or other financial assets and still qualify for this program.
Your husband would also qualify for Medicaid, as a parent with children under age 18. As long as your income did not go over $41,611 (105% of Federal Poverty for a household of eight people), he would continue to qualify. Once kids start turning 18, your household headcount would go down and the same $37,000 would be a higher percentage of the Poverty Limits. There is Transitional coverage for families up to 185% of Federal Poverty.
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has a nifty pre-application tool online. You can type in your information anonymously and find out whether you might qualify.