Question: How does the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA affect gay and lesbian couples, married or not, in eligibility for Covered California coverage in 2014?
Answer: The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are now entitled to the same federal benefits as married opposite-sex couples.
This has implications for Covered California premium assistance. For example, same-sex partners who each have an income of $35,000 may be eligible for the premium assistance tax credits under the ACA - but only if they remain single. If they marry, then they would lose eligibility because their income would be over the threshold 400% FPL for a household of two.
But marriage would be a benefit for couples who have significantly different salaries. For example, say one spouse is unemployed and one earns $50,000. Separate, the unemployed person would qualify for Medi-Cal, but the $50,000 earner would be ineligible for premium assistance. Together, their combined earnings are now low enough to qualify both of them for a Covered California tax credit.