Author Topic: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?  (Read 719 times)

mattydt20

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ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« on: August 30, 2019, 12:07:10 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm starting graduate school in January and we're trying to carve out a financial plan. Our initial plan was for my wife to return to work on a part time basis in order to pick up health insurance for the family. However, it turns there will be an extraordinarily long wait to get child care for our 11 month old.

If I'm making the decision to attend graduate school, and my wife decides to work a non-benefited job, will we still qualify for ACA subsidies? At an annual spending rate of < 40k, we know we could get by on a meager income, perhaps dip into savings, but the health insurance is a primary concern.

Insurance through my college would cost 10k per year for just my wife and I, children an additional 6k per year. However, we should be able to get them covered for free through CHIP with a low income.

Does being a student preclude our family from subsidies if we choose to live on a meager income?

Thanks!

iris lily

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2019, 08:48:50 AM »
I see that a couple days have gone by since you asked a question and no one has answered, so Iíll give a stab at it,  and keep in mind this is just random information from an Internet person. My spouse and I were on an ACA subsidized health policy and my husband still is, so we have a little bit of experience with it.

When you talk about being low income you have to be careful that youíre not so low the ACA determines you are Medicaid eligible, i.e. too poor for an ACA policy.

If I were you,  I would set up an ACA account And just play around with the numbers. Plug in numbers that show various scenarios you and your wife may have. See what happens with those theoretical  scenarios.


seattlecyclone

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2019, 12:07:15 PM »
I don't think that being a student precludes you from getting a subsidized ACA plan. Having "affordable" employer-based insurance available to you would. If this $10k plan is available to all students regardless of whether they're employed at the university I don't think it counts as employer coverage, so you're free to go to the marketplace. See https://www.healthcare.gov/young-adults/college-students/.

DirtDiva

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2019, 09:56:41 AM »
You could call or text your stateís exchange to pose the question.

honeybbq

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2019, 10:26:04 AM »
When I was a grad student, I qualified for the university's health care plan.
Does your school not provide insurance for students?

zygote

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 11:06:38 AM »
When I was a grad student, I qualified for the university's health care plan.
Does your school not provide insurance for students?

Seconding this. I would check with your school again. I have never seen a student health plan that cost $10k/year. That's insane. Are you sure you're not looking at options for university employees vs. students?

seattlecyclone

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2019, 11:43:15 AM »
When I was a grad student, I qualified for the university's health care plan.
Does your school not provide insurance for students?

Seconding this. I would check with your school again. I have never seen a student health plan that cost $10k/year. That's insane. Are you sure you're not looking at options for university employees vs. students?

It doesn't sound insane if the school doesn't subsidize it.

The unsubsidized cost of health insurance for a couple of 25-year-olds in my area's ACA exchange ranges from $4,860/year for the catastrophic plan to $11.5k/year for a gold plan. Adding two kids to the coverage costs $3,700 more for catastrophic and $8,800 more for a gold plan. A $10k option (plus $6k for kids) sounds perfectly within the realm of sanity if it provides a high level of coverage.

Hence the original question about whether it would be possible to get subsidized coverage through their ACA exchange.

zygote

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2019, 12:13:36 PM »
I know that's typical for the cost of an unsubsidized plan. I was saying it's insane if the school is not subsidizing health care for their graduate students. When I and a lot of my friends were in grad school, the universities provided subsidized coverage because they required students to be insured for liability reasons. It was closer to $3500/year for a single person for pretty comprehensive coverage, and a lot of departments would cover that cost for their grad students. That's why I wanted the OP to double check with their graduate program. Of course the OP knows their situation better than a stranger on the internet would, I just hope that there was a miscommunication somewhere and that coverage through the university is more manageable.

pegleglolita

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2019, 12:44:07 PM »
nthing this.  Our graduate students have access to a health plan that is very separate from the "Cadillac" plan we get as faculty, but also costs only about $200/month for singles, $300 for families.  Make sure you talk to the graduate school.

Aly

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2019, 01:08:57 PM »
My health plan during my PhD was pretty affordable, but for spouses and dependents they basically said "go on the exchange/Medicaid, it'll be cheaper." The school claimed that during negotiations with the health insurance company they had been able to keep the single student plan's price down by letting them double the price of insurance for spouses and dependents (I'm pretty that was bullshit, my school was shitty to grad students in a lot of ways).

That being said, are you in a master's or PhD program? Are you funded or paying tuition? If you're funded, you're still making ~15-35k for a family of 3, and depending on your state you might be eligible for Medicaid. Unless you're in a grad student union (in which case talk to them, they'll know what your options are), your school probably insists you are a student, not an employee. I also recently learned that some University health insurance plans aren't actually ACA compliant, they are only catastrophic, in which case you'd probably be eligible for the exchange and subsidies.

There are "health insurance navigators" that can help you figure out your options in your state. I've been trying to deal with health insurance in two different states all summer, and while the wait times on the phone are hellish, the people I've talked to have all been very nice and very eager to help figure out what my options are.

trompowsky87

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2019, 02:10:22 PM »
Honestly, you need to look up the state exchange and call them to get the correct info. They have people who know this and will help you navigate the system.

honeybbq

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Re: ACA subsidized health insurance while in grad school?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2019, 03:32:54 PM »
nthing this.  Our graduate students have access to a health plan that is very separate from the "Cadillac" plan we get as faculty, but also costs only about $200/month for singles, $300 for families.  Make sure you talk to the graduate school.

This is more what I meant. There was a special plan for students rather than faculty/staff.