Obamacare: Giving employee a raise will lower her subsidy

I am on a board for a small non-profit. The part-time office manager has told me that she is barely able to afford her health insurance, even with the Obamacare subsidies, and her plan has a $10,000 deductible. I feel bad about this. If we gave her a raise, she could better afford her monthly cost. Could we also do something to help her with that high deductible?

Trying to Help in Maine

Dear Trying to Help,

Your heart is in the right place, but giving her a raise actually won’t help her. Her subsidies are based upon her income. If her income goes up, her subsidy goes down. However, there is something you can do to help her.

It sounds like the office manager has the wrong plan for her situation, or she may not understand how her deductible works. Her deductible can also be subsidized, based upon her family income. Someone may not have explained that to her. Or worse, she didn’t apply for that subsidy.

She can go to healthcare.gov, or contact Enroll207 for help. Enroll207 has a directory of navigators and assisters for the entire state. You can also ask your fellow board members if they know someone who can help her make sure she is getting all of the benefits she is entitled to. A health insurance broker can work with her, give expert advice, and answer all of her questions.

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.