I think something is wrong, but I'm not sure, and I need someone who understands the ACA better than I to give me some advice.
My wife (kossack yellowfroggyattack) and I returned to the States after six years in Japan on March 27th. We just got connected to the internet yesterday- just in time to beat the ACA enrollment deadline! Well, I called in because the website traffic was so heavy, and I enrolled... and got shafted, I think.
Below the squiggly we go...
yellowfroggyattack and I are planning to start a business, so our income calculations have been hard to figure. While I was waiting on the phone to get signed up, I used healtcare.gov's calculator to figure out our subsidy level and pick out a plan. I entered Michigan, county of Oakland, 2 adults, our ages, and for estimated income I put down $25K. It showed me a bunch of plans and said that we likely qualified for a tax subsidy of $383. Yippee! I chose a decent silver plan that would thus cost us $25 a month. After a long hold, I spoke to the helper on the phone and she helped me choose a dental plan for $43 a month. She signed us up, gave me the numbers of the insurance companies, and told me I'd be paying $451 a month. Wait, what?
She said that since Michigan didn't expand medicaid, we didn't qualify for subsidies. Wait, I thought there was some sort of federal subsidy? No, she said. Well, then why did the healthcare.gov calculator tell me I'd get $383 per month? Well, that's inaccurate, she said. Around and around we went.
Is she right? Is there really no federal subsidy available? Do I really have to pay full price for these plans? Who screwed up here, if anyone? Are my wife and I really going to have to pay $5400 a year for basic health insurance when our income might well be next to nothing?
What is going on here? Any help, advice, etc. would be greatly appreciated.
Update- Please note that I am not some sort of Redstate troll or anything. I still recognize the benefits of the ACA- like the fact that my wife won't be kicked off because of her preexisting condition, etc. I'm just completely confused about the fact that the prices are sky-high and there's nothing to be done about it.
Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 4:24 AM PT: UPDATE II - First off, thank you very much to everyone who commented on my diary. Thanks to you and calling back and waiting patiently on hold, I was able to figure it out. Here's what happened: When I initially completed my application over the phone, I was asked for income data. I asked if I should give my estimated income or only income that I knew about for sure. The latter, she said. So I counted some investments and rental income but nothing else, which gave me a yearly income of $7K per year... well below the line for receiving tax credits. Since Michigan hadn't expanded medicare yet, this meant that I had fallen in the gap, but the person who helped me couldn't articulate this well. So I called back again and started over fresh (old application thrown out, new one begun) and this time I gave them my anticipated income which qualified me for a tax credit. Still deciding what exactly I should do based on all of your good advice, but the point is I will indeed be able to get good and affordable coverage via the ACA. Thank you all again!