Obamacare: Working people can get Medicaid

I work at a large national retail store and get their health plan. I take home about $200 a week and was barely getting by, when I got sick. I had to take a week off from work to have tests. Every day, there was another co-pay. They think I might have colon cancer. I can’t afford to be off work and pay all of these co-pays. What am I supposed to do?

California Gal

Dear California Gal,

Even though you have a health plan from your employer, you can apply for Medicaid. California “expanded” Medicaid to include all low-income people. If you are taking home $200 a week, I’m estimating that your annual earnings are less than $18,000. So you could qualify for Medicaid.  You can apply online at Covered California.

You can keep your employer plan, even if you get Medicaid. But you could boost your take-home, if you have to pay to be on your employer’s plan.

Lots of people make this mistake. They think that if they get a plan from work, they have no other options. This is not true if your annual wages make you eligible for Medicaid, or if the employer’s plan costs you more than 9.5% of your income to join and cover yourself.

Hopefully, you will be well enough to keep working your usual hours. Having to cut back your work schedule would, of course, lower your income further. This would either put you into qualifying for Medicaid, if you don’t already, or make you ineligible for your employer’s plan (assuming they have a minimum number of hours to be covered by the plan).

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.