Obamacare: reporting income changes — subsidy will change too

I signed up for Obamacare, and got a big discount because I was only working part time. I just got more hours at work and am making more money. I still don’t get health insurance, though. What do I do now? Do I have to cancel my plan and start a new one, since I won’t get those big discounts anymore?

Happily Employed

Dear Happily Employed,

Congratulations on getting more work!

Going from little or no income to a good job is a positive change. Now you have to deal with all the other ripple effects, which you rightly point out include your subsidies.

A change in income is considered a “life change” and you need to report it to the Health Exchange where you bought your plan. Log in to your account on healthcare.gov, select your application, and then select “Report a life change” from the left-hand menu.   Or you can call 1-800-318-2596 to report it. Here is healthcare.gov’s step-by-step explanation of this process.

Depending upon what your income was before and after your job change, you may also be allowed to change your health plan. This would be the case if you previously qualified for cost-sharing help (to pay your deductible and co-pay) and now you don’t. Or vice versa, if your income had gone down and you now qualified for cost-sharing help.

You will get a letter explaining your options and new subsidies. You have 60 days to change your plan, if you get one of these “special enrollment periods”.

A word of caution: all of these reporting and subsidy payment systems are new. It may take time to get the change all the way through. You may need to persist, but keep at it because you don’t want to owe the government a lot of money next April for subsidies that you didn’t need.

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.