Obamacare: getting married could change Medicaid status

I am 68 and on Medicare and Medicaid.  I have many health issues.   My girlfriend and I are thinking about marriage.  Just living together is not an option.     She is 69 years old. I am concerned that I don’t want to have my wife paying my medical bills. Can I keep my coverage as it is? Our intention is to keep our finances separate.   Thank you for your help.

Paul in Colorado

Dear Paul,

Your Medicare will not be affected by your getting married.  Almost everyone gets Medicare at age 65.

Your Medicaid,however, might be affected.  If your joint income is more than $21,967 (138% of Federal Poverty for a household of two), then you would no longer be eligible for Medicaid.  You would, however, be able to get government help to buy a health plan from the Connect For Health Colorado exchange.  At 138% of Federal Poverty, you would spend around three percent of your annual income for the “benchmark” plan.  This would be $54 per month.  You would also get help paying your deductible and co-pays.

(I won’t go into the nits and grits of the benchmark plan.  It’s enough to know that it is the second lowest cost Silver plan, and covers 70% of average health costs.)

You have choices, in other words.  Losing Medicaid might not be a bad thing.  You can call the exchange at 1-855-752-6749 and talk to a navigator.

Good luck and many happy years of marriage!

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.