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View Poll Results: For my health insurance now or in the future ...
I need an ACA subsidy to pay for health insurance 4 3.77%
I will try to manipulate my income in order to qualify and get an ACA subsidy 38 35.85%
I would use an ACA subsidy, but won't manipulate my income, and can still have health care 17 16.04%
I will not use an ACA subsidy for my health insurance 36 33.96%
Something else, but at least I answered the poll 11 10.38%
Voters: 106. You may not vote on this poll

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Poll: Will you need/use an ACA subsidy for health insurance?
Old 11-08-2014, 10:18 AM   #1
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Poll: Will you need/use an ACA subsidy for health insurance?

I see lots of posts about trying to minimize the poster's income in order to qualify for a health insurance subsidy. I guess in the old days, everyone tried to maximize their income so that they could pay for health insurance in retirement.

In some sense, this has changed the equation significantly for many folks. I also find it hard to believe that these folks all voted for policitians who support this as well even though it appears to have been in their best interest. That is, folks will embrace it even if they didn't vote for it.

So even if this poll is flawed, let's see how folks vote.

For my health insurance now or in the future ...

I need an ACA subsidy to pay for health insurance
I will try to manipulate my income in order to qualify and get an ACA subsidy
I would use an ACA subsidy, but won't manipulate my income, and can still have health care
I will not use an ACA subsidy for my health insurance
Something else, but at least I answered the poll

Thanks for participating.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:23 AM   #2
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Thanks for including an "I want to vote, too" option for those of us on Medicare.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Thanks for including an "I want to vote, too" option for those of us on Medicare.
Oops! I voted "I will not use an ACA subsidy for my health insurance". I am on Medicare too, with employer-subsidized retiree medical insurance picking up what Medicare doesn't.


If there had been a category, "I thank heavens every day that I don't have to plow through all the information and misinformation about ACA", I would have picked that one.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:36 AM   #4
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My budget includes HI at the ACA unsubsidized premium plus full OOP max each year.

I voted "I would use an ACA subsidy, but won't manipulate my income, and can still have health care".

I think my income will actually be below the max so that I would qualify for a subsidy. In theory my plan is to use the half the subsidy plus any amount I don't spend of the OOP maximum to fund some travel, and save the other half. If I end up with no subsidy, and actually spend all the OOP max, then I won't travel. Considering that we leave home for vacations only once every 3 or 4 years we won't really miss it.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:39 AM   #5
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To me, the subsidy is just a part of the overall tax equation.

Most of us have been attempting to legally minimize taxes since we earned our first dollar. Why stop now?
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:45 AM   #6
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I voted this: "I will try to manipulate my income in order to qualify and get an ACA subsidy"

That sounded negative, so I will say that I will 'adjust' my income thru ROTH and HSA. If income is high still, I will sell my muni bonds to reduce tax exempt interest.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:45 AM   #7
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At one time I was considering managing (rather than manipulating ) my income to qualify for ACA subsidies.

But I later decided that the value of doing more Roth conversions between ER and when RMDs begin and reducing my years in the 25% bracket once RMDs begin exceeded the value of the subsidies. IOW, my projected net worth foregoing ACA subsidies and doing Roth conversions was higher than taking subsidies and foregoing Roth conversions. YMMV.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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I think the word "manipulate" is a loaded word with a negative spin. Something like "arrange your income streams to maximize ACA subsidies" would be more neutral.
What is wrong with making arrangements to minimize taxes, maximize benefits?

I maxed out the 401k to save taxes. So I "manipulated" my income to save taxes. Should I not "manipulate" my income? The law allows one to take legal steps for maximization. Should one not "file and suspend" for SS? Should I not sign up for Medicare at 65?
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:57 AM   #9
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jim, I understand your point but you seem to be overreacting.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jim584672 View Post
What is wrong with making arrangements to minimize taxes, maximize benefits?
Nothing wrong with that, except some folks got mad at Mitt Romney for doing the same thing.

My impression (could be wrong) is that some folks are trying to adjust their cost of living (i.e. expenses) to be lower in order to qualify for a subsidy. So instead of living on $100K a year, they forego nice cars, nice vacations, nice retirement locations and drive their expenses to cardboard box housing in order to qualify for a subsidy while have tons of money in their portfolio. Wait a minute, that does sound very negative, doesn't it?

And I have certainly set things up so that I should not have to pay income taxes in retirement.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:09 AM   #11
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I'll need to figure out how to increase taxable income to qualify for subsidy and not fall into under medicaid rules for a state that doesn't have the expansion.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:15 AM   #12
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I'll need to figure out how to increase taxable income to qualify for subsidy and not fall into under medicaid rules for a state that doesn't have the expansion.
Roth conversions?
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:15 AM   #13
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Given the projected size of my pension it is going to be awfully tough to manipulate my income to qualify for a subsidy... so I'm focusing on the path of building in expected insurance costs w/o subsidy into my retirement planning.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:23 AM   #14
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Roth conversions?
Roth conversions will work to start . . . I'll do as much as possible to stretch them out. We should have enough to make it until we're medicare eligible, but it will be close.
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Old 11-08-2014, 11:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
My impression (could be wrong) is that some folks are trying to adjust their cost of living (i.e. expenses) to be lower in order to qualify for a subsidy. So instead of living on $100K a year, they forego nice cars, nice vacations, nice retirement locations and drive their expenses to cardboard box housing in order to qualify for a subsidy while have tons of money in their portfolio. Wait a minute, that does sound very negative, doesn't it?
Almost all of the discussion on this board has been about reducing income, not expenses. If I want to buy lunch, I can withdraw 10 dollars from my bank account and have 0 income. Or I can take a distribution of 10 dollars from my 401k and have 10 dollars of income.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:00 PM   #16
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I initially assumed folks whose income is too high to qualify for ACA subsidy would answer
Quote:
I will not use an ACA subsidy for my health insurance
But reading the answers, another poll response could be used:
Quote:
I would use an ACA subsidy, but won't manipulate my income, and can still have health care
So that is very ambiguous, and I suspect you will get folks answering either response. That makes the poll results much less useful.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:01 PM   #17
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We won't qualify for a subsidy between two pensions, rental income and interest and dividend income in taxable accounts, so we'll just pay for insurance.


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Old 11-08-2014, 12:17 PM   #18
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So instead of living on $100K a year, they forego nice cars, nice vacations, nice retirement locations and drive their expenses to cardboard box housing in order to qualify for a subsidy while have tons of money in their portfolio. Wait a minute, that does sound very negative, doesn't it?

And I have certainly set things up so that I should not have to pay income taxes in retirement.
400% of the federal poverty level for a family of 4 is $95,400, O-AGI, which does not include deductions for business expenses, business trips, HSA contributions, etc. There is no asset test so assets like home value and cars are not included.

One could live in this delightful diamond in the rough for $1.8M and still qualify:

http://valleywag.gawker.com/hoarders...8-m-1648912478
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:17 PM   #19
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I'm still wary of Exchange policies. My regular doc takes my private policy with Coventry but not Coventry's policy bought off the Exchange. Not sure if we'd ever qualify for a subsidy- a lot of our savings are outside IRAs and we can get big capital gain distributions in good years- but irrelevant for us. DH gets Medicare.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:30 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I initially assumed folks whose income is too high to qualify for ACA subsidy would answer

Quote:
I will not use an ACA subsidy for my health insurance

But reading the answers, another poll response could be used:

Quote:
I would use an ACA subsidy, but won't manipulate my income, and can still have health care

So that is very ambiguous, and I suspect you will get folks answering either response. That makes the poll results much less useful.
Yeah, I was a bit confused by that too. After all, I would use the subsidy, but will not manipulate income for this year, anyway, and I will have health insurance...just not subsidized. I think "subsidized health care" should be the term in that option.

Anyway, my thought is that I have a lot of conversions to Roth I want to do, so while I'm younger and my rates are lower I will go ahead and do them, and in fact above the 15% bracket this year and maybe next. Right now the subsidy would barely help me from my initial look at my options for next year. As I get closer to 65, I may skip conversions and do a few other things if necessary to get the subsidy since my premiums would be higher.

The drawback to this, of course, is that the subsidy could change or be eliminated by that time. I can't see the subsidy cliff lasting very long. Most limits in the tax code are tapered so there is no such cliff.
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