In states that have expanded Medicaid coverage, there are millionaires who are getting taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. Because of loose elegibility requirements, people who have low monthly incomes but high net worth are eligible for Obamacare. In Iowa and other rural states, there are many citizens who are able to take advantage of the loophole and enroll in government-sponsored health insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states that expanded Medicaid eliminated the asset test, which was previously used to determine eligibility for regular Medicaid. To qualify for that program, the federal government looked at both income and net worth. Currently, however, eligibility in states that did and did not expand Medicaid is linked only to modified adjusted gross income, keeping it in line with the tax code. When altering the Medicaid eligibility requirements to align it with the tax code, a loophole opened up for high net worth persons to enroll in Obamacare. Those persons who own millions of dollars in farmland, for instance, are eligible.
Applicants who are rich in assets such as land, but whose income falls below 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or $16,000 for an individual, are eligible.
Others, such as graduate students, may also qualify under the income eligibility guidelines. For example, Brendan Mahoney – a student in Hartford, Conn. – applied for health care through that state’s exchange in 2013 and found he was eligible for Medicaid. In his third year of law school, Mahoney already had coverage through the university, but found he could enroll in Medicaid instead.
Under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, the Obama administration expanded Medicaid in order to provide coverage for poor Americans. In the 31 states and the District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid, adults who earn below 138 percent of the federal poverty line ($16,000) can enroll. The federal government will cover all costs of Medicaid expansion until the end of 2016. Participating states are required by cover 10 percent of the costs by 2022.
When CNBC published a report in January about millionaires qualifying for healthcare subsidies, questions were raised about equity. And just like eligibility for enrolling in Medicaid in the expansion states, eligibility for the Affordable Care Act subsidies is based on income alone and not a combination of net worth and income. CNBC found, for example, that a financial advisor in Florida was directing clients worth millions of dollars to enroll for coverage under Obamacare. The new organization found that a client in Florida got a monthly subsidy of $423, thus lowering the price of coverage to $240 per month. Another client received a monthly subsidy of $737, lowering their premium to $435 per month.
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