Is the ACA good for single moms? If so, why?
Mother of Two
Dear Mother of Two,
The Affordable Care Act can help single mothers who do not qualify for Medicaid to afford health insurance. Having only one income and children to care for is a challenge. Paying for health insurance on top of that can be difficult.
Under the ACA, only a certain percentage of your income can be spent on health insurance. A single parent family with two children and with $39,000 a year in income would be asked to spend about 6% of its annual income on health insurance; government subsidies would cover the rest. The 6% would equal roughly $195 per month. The family would also qualify for help paying deductibles and co-pays.
Subsidizing health insurance is only one part of the ACA, but is perhaps the most prominent. There are lots of other things that benefit single mothers and married people as well — requiring insurers to accept all customers and not turn them away because of their health problems, for example.
Many theorists would say the ACA also harms single and married mothers, by putting many more regulations on health insurance or making it more expensive for employers to hire new workers. (Note: the employer mandate has not taken effect yet, so this is at least partly speculation.) But your question was about benefits, not harms. So let’s stay with the bright side.