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Obamacare penalty: Your family could pay more for insurance

In his scenario, the company paid 50 percent of the employee’s premium for coverage, but nothing for the premiums for the rest of the family.

In that scenario, the employee’s premium cost would be $ 2,394 per year—well under the 9.5 percent affordability test level. Thus, the entire family would be disqualified from using federal subsidies to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.

The family then would have two options.

Option one would be for the entire family to get insured under the employer plan at a net cost of $ 11,252—an amount that takes into account the company’s subsidy to the employee.

Option two would be for the employee to buy insurance from his company’s plan, at an out-of-pocket cost of $ 2,394. The three other members of his family would then buy insurance on the New York exchange at a cost of of $ 7,120—for a total of $ 9,514.

But Wu pointed out that if the company didn’t pay any part of the employee’s premium for the company-offered insurance, the entire family would significantly benefit financially under the Obamacare rule.

In that situation, a worker would be on the hook for all of the $ 4,788 annual premium cost for the company plan. That’s more than the 9.5 percent income affordability test—and his family would thus be eligible for government subsidies on the New York state health exchange.

By using those subsidies, the entire family’s total cost after purchasing the second cheapest “Silver” plan on that exchange would be just $ 3,365 a year.

That’s nearly $ 6,000 less than the cheapest scenario available to the same family if the worker was offered employer-subsidized insurance, Wu noted.

“The employee could simply ask the employer to keep the $ 2,400 [subsidy] so that the insurance would not qualify as affordable,” the ValuePenguin report said.

ValuePenguin also pointed out that even if the employer paid half of the premiums for the family in the company-offered plan, the total cost to the family would be $ 6,823 annually. That’s nearly $ 3,500 more than a plan that would be available to them on the New York exchange if they hadn’t received the company’s subsidies in the first place.

In that situation, Wu said, “You would rather say, ‘Don’t give me that coverage.’ “

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