Health reform: household income for two, insurance coverage for one

My work offers health insurance only for me, not for my husband. Is it ok for my husband to get individual health insurance and put only his income?

Michigan Employee

Dear Michigan Employee,

Your household income will include both yours and your husband’s income, because you are married. The household income and number of people determines where you fall on the Federal Poverty guidelines, which in turn determines how much he might get for a subsidy (help from the government) to buy his insurance.

Before you go any further, make sure that your employer’s plan meets the standards for “affordable”. It can cost no more than 9.5% of your (just your, not your husband’s) income to cover yourself. The employer should have given you a letter affirming that it meets this standard. If you didn’t get a letter (or misplaced it), ask your boss or your company’s human resource person.

Many companies give the employees coverage for no charge, so it’s easy to affirm that it is affordable. If so, then move forward and have your husband apply for his own coverage at the exchange.

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.