Q. My son has lost his job and my grandchildren, ages 5 and 6, are without health insurance. I am a retired schoolteacher and might be able to afford coverage for them. What are my options?
A. Your grandchildren have a couple of coverage possibilities. Assuming your son’s income is low or non-existent now because he’s out of work, the kids would likely be eligible for coverage under their state Medicaid or CHIP program for low-income children. Income eligibility varies by state, but it’s typically between 200 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $39,580 to $49,475 for a 3-person family).
If the kids don’t qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, all three of them may qualify for subsidized family coverage on the state marketplace, says Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation). Under the health law, your son’s loss of on-the-job health insurance creates a “special enrollment period” for him to sign up for coverage there. If his estimated income for this year will be less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (currently $78,120 for a family of three) he may qualify for subsidies.
If it’s just the kids’ coverage you’re concerned about, you can investigate child-only policies on the state marketplace. Log onto healthcare.gov to get connected to your state marketplace and find details about child-only plans as well as family coverage and Medicaid/CHIP.
Finally, if you have private retiree coverage, it’s possible--but unlikely--that you could insure your grandchildren as dependents on your own plan, says Pollitz.
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