LAKE MACBRIDE— We rush toward the new year with hope. Imperfect, we still try and that is something. Some would say it is everything.
On a piece of scratch paper I estimated 2015 income from known sources. The information was to apply for a tax credit during the open enrollment period in the Health Care Marketplace. Our budgeted income is about the same as 2014 actual, although with fewer part time jobs. We qualified for a tax credit of $13,224, which will actually be a payment by the federal government to a health insurance company.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been under relentless criticism and legal challenge, and it’s far from over. The Muscatine Journal published an article that explained the current case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring or summer.
“The court has decided to hear a case that questions the legality of federal subsidies for private health insurance purchased via the federal government under the new health care law,” Erin Murphy wrote. Depending upon what the court decides, the tax credits like mine may be on the chopping block for some 24,000 Iowans.
If the subsidy is eliminated, and lawmakers take no corrective action, it means I would have to find more part time work to produce weekly take-home pay of $254.31 to pay for health insurance. It would be the equivalent of working another 30-hour per week job at about $8.50 per hour.
In 2011, Medicare cost $549.1 billion to provide services for 48.7 million beneficiaries, according to the Medicare Newsgroup. That works out to $11,275.15 per year, or $1,949 less than the tax credit we were provided in the Marketplace. It seems doubtful a politician could connect the dots, but wouldn’t it be cheaper to lower the eligibility age for Medicare and pay less to insurance companies? That makes sense, so what was I thinking?
I’ll complete the process of choosing a plan before the Dec. 15 deadline, and it looks like we’ll keep our current policy. Then we’ll wait and see what the high court does.
And we’ll still be trying to sustain a life in a turbulent world.