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Ask the Expert: Can claiming a child affect Medicaid?

My daughter turns 26 next year and will lose her coverage in my employer-sponsored health insurance plan. She isn’t working. She has a little investment income from investments I bought for her years ago. She files her own tax returns. Is she eligible for New York State Medicaid, even though I claim her as a dependent on my federal and state tax returns?

Your daughter is likelier to qualify for Medicaid if you don’t claim her as a dependent.

A New Yorker with household income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level qualifies for Medicaid. (‘Income’ in this case includes investment income.) If you claim her as a dependent, her household income for Medicaid purposes will include your income. If you don’t, she can apply as a single individual and only her own income will count, even if she lives with you.

In 2018, the federal poverty level for a one-person household is $11,880 a year, so a single person with income up to $16,664 qualifies for Medicaid. For a two-person household, the Medicaid income limit is $22,411; for a four-person household, it’s $33,948.

People ineligible for Medicaid whose income is between 139 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level qualify for New York’s “Essential Health Plan” — a plan that’s free or costs $20 a month, depending on the applicant’s income. Finally, every New Yorker can buy health insurance in the state’s Affordable Care Act market (NY State of Health) — and those with income up to 400 percent of the poverty level receive tax credits to help pay for it. NY State of Health open enrollment ends Jan. 31, 2018. But anyone who loses coverage through no fault of his or her own can enroll anytime.

THE BOTTOM LINE

At every income level, New Yorkers have health insurance options.

MORE INFORMATION

coverage4healthcare.org

info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/EssentialPlan

obamacarefacts.com/federal-poverty-level

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