First, you will need to go to this site. Once you’re on the homepage, there will be several links to choose from. Click on the link that says “SEE PLANS & PRICES.”
You’ll be asked for your zip code first. Once you enter that, you’ll be taken to a new page where you will be asked if you were enrolled in a 2015 Marketplace health plan. If you say yes, you will then be asked for your Plan ID, and you will proceed from there.
If you say no, you will be asked a few eligibility questions such as who is in your household, how old you are, and what your expected 2016 income will be. If you are eligible for a premium tax credit or other savings on health insurance, you will be showed the possible plans and prices.
Check Your Eligibility
You will be shown any and all savings you qualify for based on this preliminary information. The information you are provided are all estimates, and may change once you actually apply. The Marketplace application has a lot more questions that will go into much greater detail.
Based on the preview plans you are shown, you can choose the one you want and start the application process. When you submit your application, you will then be provided with the plans you are actually eligible for. These may be the same as the preview options or different based on the information supplied in the full application.
How to Estimate Your 2016 Income for this Application
When you are asked for your estimated 2016 income, they don’t want to know your 2015 income. You will need to figure out what you believe you will make in the following year. Obviously, anything can happen that would impact your future income. Your estimate is based solely on the information you currently have available to you.
To estimate your 2016 income, you need to start with your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your most recent federal tax return. If you use an accountant, you can get this information from your accountant. Otherwise, you can find your AGI on Line 37 if you use Form 1040, Line 4 if you use Form 1040EZ, or on Line 21 if you use Form 1040 A.
Once you have your AGI, add in tax-exempt interest, tax-exempt foreign income, and tax-exempt Social Security benefits, if you have any of those. This new amount will be your MAGI, which is the number used to determine income eligibility. Keep in mind, you do not need to include SSI if you or someone in your household receives that.
Check Your Eligibility
Then, and this is the hard part, you want to adjust your MAGI with any expected changes you will experience in your income in 2016.
Examples of possible changes to consider:
- Scheduled raise or promotion that comes with a raise
- Anticipated changes in employment including a new job, work different hours, upcoming layoff or expected changes in self-employment income
- The inclusion or deletion of other income streams such as alimony and investments
- Changes in your household that may include marriage, divorce, new baby, or a dependent no longer being declared as a dependent
For some people, income can be tough to predict. For example, if you are self-employed, work 100% on commission, or you work on an as needed contract, you may find it difficult to predict future income. The best approach is to make your prediction based on past performance.