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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.

No Dependent Coverage

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Question: My large employer does not offer dependent coverage. Can my wife and kids get coverage in the exchange with subsidies.

Answer: Employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer coverage to full-time employees and dependent children up to age 26. They are not required to offer coverage to spouses. So, if that is the case, your spouse could get Covered California and if your household income (MAGI) is under 400% FPL, she will be eligible for subsidized coverage. Your children on the other hand will not be eligible as they have access to employer-based coverage even if they are is not enrolled.


I don’t know of any small group carrier in California that offers the employer the choice of not offering coverage to spouses and dependents.

Toward the very end of the SHOP exchange agent webinar today, Corky said that there is NO requirement for groups of any size to offer dependent coverage. If this is correct, wouldn’t all employers offer employee-only coverage and let all dependents go to the individual market? And since those dependents wouldn’t have access to employer sponsored coverage, wouldn’t they all be eligible for a subsidy (depending on their income)? What about the dependent “glitch” that we’ve all heard about?

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