Obamacare: student options in Missouri

Hello. I am a nursing student here in Missouri. I would love and need health insurance but I am not able to work due to the busy schedule that I have. My question is about any plans that I may be able to afford. I do receive unemployment benefits due to the fact that I lost my job back in September. Your help would certainly be appreciated.

Future Florence Nightingale

Dear Future Florence Nightingale,

In Missouri, you will need to earn at least $11,490 (for a household of one person) in order to get subsidies to buy health insurance. Missouri is not “expanding” Medicaid, so there is a gap between Medicaid and subsidies for private health insurance from the exchange. If you earn less than 100% of Federal Poverty (and you do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid, such as being pregnant), you do not qualify for Medicaid OR for subsidies.

If you think you can earn $11,490 during 2014, then you can be confident about applying for subsidies and getting a plan from the exchange. If you are not likely to earn that much, then I would suggest two other options.

One option is to see whether your school has a student health plan that you could afford. The second option is to locate programs and supports for uninsured people. Hospitals all have patient assistance programs; most communities have free or sliding-scale clinics; even drug makers have discount cards for uninsured people.  You can try NeedyMeds online directory. Since you are a nursing student, you may have easy access to this kind of information for your community.

Don’t worry about the tax penalty: people earning less than the tax filing minimum (about $10,000 for a household of one person) are not charged the penalty.

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.