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  #11  
Old 05-30-2018, 04:32 PM
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Agree with all the above. Because of your ages and nuances with the way plans are priced (Silver plan prices, which determine the amount of your premium subsidy, are artificially inflated in most states due to the Federal government's decision to no longer pay for cost-sharing reductions for low income people), you should be able to get a Bronze plan on the exchange with a $0 monthly premium if you can manage your income to be at/below about $50k (300% FPL for a family of 2).

There is additional subsidy for even lower income levels, but the subsidy decreases significantly as you increase your income and disappears altogether at 400% FPL (as Mr. F noted).
Yeah. Another good point touched on here. The premium subsidy is a dollar amount based on the gap between the % of income you're responsible for and the cost of the second-lowest silver price. If you buy down, the subsidy amount stays the same. Since you're at a higher age, the dollar amount of the subsidy is larger, and the dollar gap between a silver and bronze plan premium is larger. You're likely able to buy down to a bronze plan with $0 premium or pretty close to it.
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Old 05-30-2018, 04:37 PM
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Buy ACA non-compliant plans? The mandate is going away.

Manipulating income to receive tax credits is by far the better route. While you may qualify for $0 bronze at a certain point, at that point you'll probably be eligible for Cost Share Reduction plans which are far better.
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  #13  
Old 05-30-2018, 05:36 PM
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While you may qualify for $0 bronze at a certain point, at that point you'll probably be eligible for Cost Share Reduction plans which are far better.
Not really. FPL for 2 person household is $16,240. 400% of that is about $65,000. At 400%, premium subsidies cover everything over 9.8% (or whatever it is indexed to now), which is about $6,400. Yoyo quoted a silver cost of $34,000, which translates to about $27,600 subsidy. Bronze plan was quoted at $26,000. yoyo would have $0 bronze at 400% FPL.

It's way harder to hit that at lower ages, but with the magnitude of premium dollars at higher ages and their interaction with the relatively fixed subsidy threshold, older people can much more easily qualify for $0 bronze or close to it.
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Old 05-31-2018, 09:10 AM
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If you miss-estimated your income at the beginning of the year then the government settles with you at tax time for the premium subsidy, but you get to keep the benefits of the benefit subsidy (CSR).
Expanding on this, if your actual income is >=400% of FPL, you have to pay back the entire premium subsidy you received during the year. If your income was higher than expected, but still <400% the amount you have to pay back is limited to $2500 plus an inflation adjustment.

There is potentially a huge difference between actual MAGI of 399% & 400% of FPL.
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:09 AM
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you guys have been enormously helpful, thank you very much
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:40 AM
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This is all very interesting; thank-you. Sounds like Edward and I should be saving more in our Roths!
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:09 AM
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Not really. FPL for 2 person household is $16,240. 400% of that is about $65,000. At 400%, premium subsidies cover everything over 9.8% (or whatever it is indexed to now), which is about $6,400. Yoyo quoted a silver cost of $34,000, which translates to about $27,600 subsidy. Bronze plan was quoted at $26,000. yoyo would have $0 bronze at 400% FPL.

It's way harder to hit that at lower ages, but with the magnitude of premium dollars at higher ages and their interaction with the relatively fixed subsidy threshold, older people can much more easily qualify for $0 bronze or close to it.
But you can't forget the increased benefits that would come with the silver plan. If he qualified for the 94% variant, he could have a $150 deductible, or some really low amount. I think one of our plans has a $150 deductible and a $500 OOP max. That would be worth a little bit of money every month to me.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:31 PM
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But you can't forget the increased benefits that would come with the silver plan. If he qualified for the 94% variant, he could have a $150 deductible, or some really low amount. I think one of our plans has a $150 deductible and a $500 OOP max. That would be worth a little bit of money every month to me.
I was just commenting on the point made that by the time you would be qualifying for $0 bronze, you would be qualifying for CSRs. For people closer to 65, you can get to a $0 bronze way before qualifying for CSRs. Sure, a 94% CSR has far richer benefits than a bronze plan. If you can get there, great! Manipulating your recognized income to get to a 94% or 87% CSR (where the CSR differential is significant) is a much different task than getting down to 400% FPL to get premium subsidies though.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:50 PM
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I was just commenting on the point made that by the time you would be qualifying for $0 bronze, you would be qualifying for CSRs. For people closer to 65, you can get to a $0 bronze way before qualifying for CSRs. Sure, a 94% CSR has far richer benefits than a bronze plan. If you can get there, great! Manipulating your recognized income to get to a 94% or 87% CSR (where the CSR differential is significant) is a much different task than getting down to 400% FPL to get premium subsidies though.


To try and get down <200% FPL to achieve the more significant CSR levels may involve sacrificing more in terms of lifestyle of foregone investment income than you would gain in benefits.

Getting safely down below 400% seems like an easy choice for most people (be careful not to accidentally go over or you need to repay the entire subsidy), but how much further likely varies based on each person's situation.
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  #20  
Old 05-31-2018, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cincinnatikid View Post


To try and get down <200% FPL to achieve the more significant CSR levels may involve sacrificing more in terms of lifestyle of foregone investment income than you would gain in benefits.

Getting safely down below 400% seems like an easy choice for most people (be careful not to accidentally go over or you need to repay the entire subsidy), but how much further likely varies based on each person's situation.
You can get there without much sacrifice if you happened to have saved enough in vehicles that weren't tax deferred and don't need to be recognized as income upon withdrawal. Just concentrate your withdrawals for those years to those accounts, pull whatever you want/need to live, and recognize less (below 200% FPL).
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