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How to cancel an Obamacare health plan

You don't have to keep it until the end of the year

Published: April 30, 2014 10:30 AM

Q. I have a health plan that I purchased through my state’s marketplace. Now I've been offered a job with health insurance. Can I cancel my Obamacare plan or do I have to keep it until the end of the year?

A. If you have the option of picking up other insurance, you can cancel your marketplace plan at any time of year. This most often comes up when people start a new job with health benefits, or when they enroll in Medicare. (Actually you can cancel your plan even if you don't have other insurance, although that would be a bad idea because you wouldn't have insurance and would face a fine for being uninsured.)

Here’s what to do. Go to the health insurance marketplace where you bought the plan and sign into your account. If you bought it through HealthCare.gov, log into “My Account,” go to “My Plans and Programs,” and select “End/Terminate All Coverage.”  

You’ll need to pick a termination date that’s at least 14 days in the future, presumably to give the marketplace and your insurance company time to process your request. Needless to say, double-check when your new health plan starts so you don’t end up with a coverage gap.

If you bought through a marketplace run by an individual state, the termination option might look different than it does on HealthCare.gov. If you can’t find it at all, call the customer-service line instead.

There’s one other wrinkle you need to be aware of. If you've been receiving a tax credit to offset the cost of your premium, you might eventually have to pay all or part of it back if your 2014 income ends up higher than you projected it to be when you enrolled.

You’ll find out when you file your 2014 tax returns in early 2015. If you end up with a Modified Adjusted Gross Income of more than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($45,960 for a single person), you’ll have to pay back the full subsidy. In effect, it will be added to your taxes due. If your income is lower than that, you’ll have to pay back $300 to $1,250, depending on your final income level.

Got a question for our health insurance expert? Ask it here; be sure to include the state you live in. And if you can't get enough health insurance news here, follow me on Twitter @NancyMetcalf.

—Nancy Metcalf

We're providing regular coverage of the new health care law. To get health insurance advice tailored to your situation, use our Health Law Helper, below.

   

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