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My Personal Story: Living Without Health Insurance

I’ve been earning a living as a freelance writer for several years now. When my husband made the decision to leave his job and work towards establishing a church of his own, it seemed like a good idea. We did the math and came to the conclusion that we would be able to make ends meet while pursuing our dreams. For the most part we’ve been successful.

The one problem we encountered was health insurance. We knew we’d be responsible for paying for our own coverage, but neither of us realized just how much the policy was going to cost. The high cost of a single policy, combined with the fact that it’s nearly impossible to tell exactly how much money we will make from one week to the next, meant that insurance wasn’t something we could afford. We had to make a choice, continue to be able to buy groceries, or have health insurance. We chose groceries and hoped we wouldn’t have any need for insurance.

We did try to get some state funded insurance to help cover our medical bills but our income put us into just a high enough bracket that made us ineligible for any kind of assistance. We fell perfectly into that category of not having enough income for insurance, but making too much to get any help. We had to handle our own medical bills.

When I first heard that health insurance was going to be made mandatory in 2014, my heart fell. I couldn’t begin to imagine how the government was going to expect me to come up with the extra money needed to handle the monthly premiums. Then I heard about the subsidy programs.

At first, I ignored all the talk about subsidies. Since I’d always been ineligible for them in the past, I saw no reason why this time would be different. Boy, am I glad I finally unbent enough to check them out.

In order to qualify for the previous subsidies, my family basically had to be living at or below the poverty level. The subsidies designed to help people pay for the Affordable Health Care Act are different. They’ve been set up so they are income based, even if you are above the federal poverty line.

I was delighted when I plugged my information into the subsidies calculator and found out I was going to be eligible for a significant tax credit. Best of all, I will be able to get the tax credits at the start of 2014 which means I can put them directly to the cost of my health insurance policy. I just have to estimate what my income will be for 2014. If I out earn my estimate, I’ll have to make up the difference when I file my 2014 income tax.

Between the Affordable Health Care subsidies and the reasonable price of a policy, I’m going to have no trouble affording health insurance for my entire family in 2014. I can’t even begin to describe how big a relief that is right now.

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