By Tom Breedlove, HomePay by Breedlove
This time last year, individuals looking for a health insurance policy were anxiously awaiting the October 1st opening of the federal and state online health insurance exchanges. While millions signed up, many others did not and will have a decision to make once again in the next few weeks. Open enrollment for health coverage starting in 2015 is scheduled to begin on November 15th – and just like last year – there are a lot of questions from nannies about what they need to do.
The first thing to understand is that the law itself has not changed, meaning all individuals are required to have health insurance or pay a fine. For 2014, the fine for not having health insurance was $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever was greater. However, for 2015, the fine increases to either $325 or 2 percent of income, whichever is greater. For perspective, someone earning $30,000 per year would face a fine of $600.
Now that we’ve covered the “bad news,” here’s the good news. There are subsidies that many nannies will qualify for that will allow you get health insurance at a discounted rate. The Kaiser Family Foundation has a great calculator tool that you can use to estimate the subsidy you could receive. It takes into account your income, number of adults enrolling in coverage, number of children, the state you live in, and other factors.
An important note: In order to qualify for a subsidy, workers must have documented wages – meaning they have to be paid “on the books.” This is a great opportunity for many nannies who want to be paid legally to have a conversation with the families they work for and explain how important it is to have access to an affordable health insurance plan – not to mention the other benefits of legal pay such as Social Security income, Medicare health coverage, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, and the ability to secure loans/credit.