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how do i afford it?

I am lucky, I have insurance w/ my employer, but just got married June of 2015, this time when I file, I will be married, not single and my employer doesn't cover spouses. My spouse is not working, so has no income, no way to buy insurance, etc. I help pay her rent and a few other things, but that's all extra I can swing. We live in VA, a state that has choosen not to expand medicate, she's got an appointment to see about getting in with the free clinic, will this be enough for me not to get fined, if they accept her? I would like to mention, we are both in our 40's.


  • I understand what you are going through. It's hard to figure our all the ins and outs of when we will or will not be penalized. I am concerned that your wife has had no coverage for over the 60 day period that is acceptable with this plan. Everything I have read indicates that you will have to pay a fee for her on your tax return. Perhaps the people at the free clinic can help the two of you towards getting some insurance for 2016. I would recommend speaking to an insurance agent. Explain your employer's policy and perhaps he or she can help find something for your wife that is less than the penalty you will pay.  

  • Many of the states have an exchange or marketplace so that you can choose between different plans with varying requirements concerning premiums you would be responsible for paying. Also, when signing up, you'll have to provide information such as income. If your spouse doesn't have a high income, he may actually be eligible for your states Medicaid, which doesn't usually require premium payments if any at all. If he doesn't quality for Medicaid, there are often much cheaper plans available that have lower premiums, which if he's generally healthy and doesn't use healthcare often. These plans often have higher deductibles, and provide less comprehensive coverage, but if he's not using it throughout the year he won't see these costs. Regardless, if something does happen where he needs the insurance, although the deductibles may still be expensive, the overall cost of the healthcare would cheaper than if he had no insurance at all. If this is still too expensive, then paying the penalty. For 2016, the individual penalty is $695 or 2.5% of the household income (whichever is higher).
  • Dee1972  I'm a reporter at NPR and I'd love to talk with you about your experience if you have time this afternoon.  Call me at (202) 513-2798  Cheers.  
  • I would agree with HealthyPursuit. There is state medicaid, and it should be available, especially since your spouse is unemployed. If your employer shows no option for the spouse, then they would be eligible, especially in virginia. I would contact your department of health, and ask what needs to be done to determine her eligibility. 
  • Posts: 70
    Well I hope that if you contact the Department of Health like @Maelalove suggests you have better luck than I have ever had trying to get some answers.  This is really the most irritating part of the whole issue so far, for me at least, and getting any sort of information is like pulling teeth now.  I hope things change, but I am not really holding out any hope.  Thanks for sharing.
  • As with others contacting the Department of Health may be the route you want to take. However, it might be hard to find someone to give you the information you are looking for. It might even be a challenge to talk to an actual human being who will return your phone calls. Buying an hour of a lawyers time who specializes in these matters might be wise. This will give you a concrete answer that you can bank on (no pun intended). I hope this helps, let me know how it goes and what you find out!
  • Im not sure, but I totally understand where you are coming from. I don't see how this "obamacare" is so much better for the "poor", its still as expensive as other regular insurance companies. Sometimes health insurance for myself just doesnt fit into our monthly budget. 
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