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Affordable Care Act

Fibbing May Help Poor Get Coverage

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There may be a way for 1 million below-poverty-level uninsured Floridians to gain access to health coverage, even though the state legislature voted against Medicaid expansion.

As Phil Galewitz reports in Kaiser Health News, some experts on the Affordable Care Act have figured out a possible way to help low-income uninsured people who live in states like Florida and Texas that rejected federal funds to pay for their coverage.

The legislatures' vote created an ironic situation: The uninsured who are at or above the poverty level qualify for subsidized coverage through the federal exchange -- the "marketplace" -- while those who are below the poverty level will not.

But if those who are below the poverty level say they estimate their 2014 income will be at or above the poverty level cutoff -- about $11,500 for an individual, about $23,000 for a family of four -- they would qualify for heavily subsidized plans on the marketplace. And if their estimated income turned out to be too optimistic, there wouldn't be a penalty for that, the administration says.

The marketplace is scheduled to open Oct. 1, listing the plans available to the uninsured. The coverage would take effect Jan. 1.