Obamacare: Can’t afford plan, what now?

I’m self-employed and earn little. I can no longer afford health insurance premiums. What should I do? Does your AGI from last year affect your options, whatever they are? Mine was less than 20K.   I have BCBS and continued the same plan I had before. Deductible about $10,000 aside from the premium. I’m afraid to stop paying.

Rock and Hard Place

Dear Rock and Hard Place,

It’s odd that you weren’t put into a different plan at open enrollment.  If yours is a household of one person, at $20,000, you should only be spending about 6% of your income on health insurance ($100 per month).  Government subsidies would pay the rest.  You would also qualify for government help to pay your deductible and co-pays.

BTW, your income from last year is not important. It’s what you are going to make this year.

It sounds like you are in an “off exchange” health plan, which would not offer you subsidies.  If Blue Cross is also offering plans on the exchange, you might want to call them and find out whether they would transfer you to a different plan (even though open enrollment is over).  It’s a long shot, but it may be a matter of hassling through some paperwork to get to a subsidized plan.

That said, do everything you can to keep your health insurance in place.  You would be risking losing your business and whatever savings or assets you have, if you became seriously ill and had no insurance.  The next open enrollment will be for next January, which sounds like a long time from now but it’s only seven months.


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.