A 33-year-old woman with minimal income, a young son and a 13-year gap in healthcare coverage sounds like the ideal candidate for Obamacare. But when Oregon native Kate Holly finally managed to navigate the glitch-heavy Cover Oregon website, she was “disappointed” to discover she did not, in fact, qualify for subsidies under the federal healthcare law.
The freelance yoga instructor spoke to Portland’s KOIN-OR on Wednesday about her plight, which caught the Obamacare supporter flat-footed. “I’m disappointed that the Affordable Care Act is not covering me in this instance,” she said. Holly described herself as a one-time “cheerleader” of the law, which she expected would apply “to people in my situation.”
“I was planning on using the Affordable Care Act and I’d done the online calculator that they had in advance to make sure I would be able to afford it,” she explained. Holly’s husband receives health insurance through his job at a local nonprofit, but the couple cannot afford adding her and her son on his corporate plan.
“With our income level we should qualify for subsidies,” she lamented, “and we would have if it wasn’t for this — I guess it’s a loophole, I don’t know what to call it.” The KOIN-OR report does not specify why the state exchange refused her subsidy application; it’s possible that Holly and her family are victims of Obamacare’s “marriage penalty,” where married couples must pass a much higher income threshold than their single counterparts before they are eligible for government subsidies.
“I guess I’m hoping somehow that I will find out that there’s a way around this, but I don’t know yet,” Holly worried. Until she does, the high price of private insurance plans means she and her son will continue to go without healthcare coverage.
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