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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.

Does Spouse Have to Buy Employer's Health Plan?

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Question: My husband makes less than $20,000 a year and he's currently on my insurance plan through my employer but it has gotten too expensive and we cannot afford it. I wanted to see if he can apply for covered California on his income alone. We file our taxes separately & file single. Does he still have to report my income to apply? I make over $50,000 a year and I'm sure he won't qualify for tax subsidy if he reports my income.

Answer: Your spouse has access to your employer's health plan. That makes him ineligible for premium assistance (subsidy) through Covered California. So he can only buy private insurance coverage at full price, if not from your employer. His income (or your income) has no affect on this case. Your tax filing status is dicey (should be either married filing joint return or married filing separate return but not single taxpayer), but has no affect on this case either.



If the employer offers minimum essential coverage, you can choose to opt-out of employer coverage and buy individual health insurance but you will not be eligible for a subsidy.

Dear Phil, Is it possible to have minimum essential coverage from an employer and avoid the penalty and at the same time the said coverage not cover enough medically to still be eligible for subsidies? Thanks, Justin Spear

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