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Covered California Q&A

Covered California and Obamacare related questions from consumers, employers and agents are answered by Phil Daigle with the best information available at the time. Archived entries may no longer be accurate as the Covered California and Obamacare knowledge-base is evolving quickly. TO REQUEST A PERSONAL RESPONSE INCLUDE EMAIL ADDRESS.


Covered California Deadline Today?

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Question: I saw on TV that today is the deadline for signing up with Covered California. Is that right? I also read that Open enrollment in CA goes to January 31.

Answer: Today is the deadline for enrolling for coverage effective 1/1/2020. The Open Enrollment Period remains open until 1/31/2020 for coverage starting February 1st.


Question: I've read through the archives, but I need clarification regarding a dependent and what to include in the household income in the application. I am 20 and going to school full-time. My mother's group plan is not covered in the county that I am in, but I am working part-time. Would I be able to apply for just myself as a household of 1? or do I need to include them in my application? I am still being claimed as dependent, but will be filing my own taxes.

Answer: Yes. You can enroll as a single-person household based on your own income. You must file a tax return and claim your personal deduction. Your mother can no longer claim you as a dependent starting in 2020. If your projected income is less than $17,000 in 2020, you will be enrolled in Medi-Cal.


Untaxed Social Security Income?

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Question: Are Social Security income benefits included in the income total? I ask because only a portion of my wife's SS is considered taxable.

Answer: Covered California's income calculation includes non-taxable Social Security benefits. However, if your income is less than less than $32,000 for joint income tax filers, you pay no tax on your Social Security benefits.


Did I Make the Sign-up Deadline?

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Question: I started the application on the Saturday the 14th deadline, but couldn't finish it. I tried to upload a form but could't get it done. Did i do everything already on my part for the deadline.

Answer: Covered California extended the Open Enrollment deadline for coverage starting on January 1, 2020 coverage to Friday December 20th, but as long as you start your application by the deadline, you'll have coverage on January 1st even though your application may have some unresolved issues.


Need Form 8962 for Tax return?

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Question: I filed my 2018 federal income tax return late and didn’t realize I needed to include Form 8962. I received subsidies in 2018 and 2019 and will need premium subsidies in order to afford coverage next year. Can I still receive premium subsidies in 2020?

Answer: If you received advance premium tax credits in 2019, they will continue in 2020. The IRS requires a you to submit IRS Form-8962. Click to download 2018 form 8962 here. Keep in mind that later during the year, Covered California will check with the IRS to verify your return was filed.


Son Off Medi-Cal at Age 19?

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Question: My son is turning 19 in January and lose MediCal coverage. He will need to be added to our Covered California coverage? What do we need to do?

Answer: Notify Medi-Cal to terminate your son’s eligibility. This will trigger a qualifying event and your Covered California account will be updated by your county Medi-Cal staff. Once the update to the account has been made then you, your agent, or a Covered California call center representative can complete the plan enrollment within the Covered California account.


Subsidy for Separated Couple?

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Question: We are a separated couple with two different households, is each spouse eligible for a subsidy?

Answer: Your federal income tax filing status is key. If you file as "married filing jointly", you may be eligible for premium assistance depending on your joint income. You and your husband and any dependents would be considered one household even if you live apart. If you file as "married filing separately, neither you or your husband will be eligible for premium assistance.


Estimate S-Corp Income?

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Question: My wife and I draw a salary as employees of the small S-Corp company we own. There are additional business profits that reside in the business bank account and are not drawn as salary or as owner distribution. What do we consider when estimated our yearly income?.

Answer: S corporations and partnerships pass through the reporting of the company's entire profit to the owners. You and your spouse are liable for taxes on the corporation's profit whether or not it was distributed. Those profits are included in your 1040 AGI upon which Covered California eligibility is based.


Overpayment of Subsidy?

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Question: I took out $20,000 from my IRA. It raised my income to $55,000 which normally be around $35,000. This was a one time deal, 2020 income will be closer to $35,000. How do I handle this with Covered California?

Answer: If you don’t plan to make an IRA withdrawal in 2020, I suggest you do not change your stated income in your Covered California account. The IRS will recover some or all of the subsidy overpayment in 2019 on your next tax return.


QuestionMy husband and I are enrolled in Covered California. We claimed my mother in-law as dependent on tax return. Can my mother in-law still apply for Medi-Cal while my wife and i have Covered California?

Answer: Your mother-in-law is not eligible for Medi-Cal unless you remove her as a dependent for federal income tax and change your Covered California account to a two-person household.

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