Tag: spouse

My husband and I are retired. He just turned 65 and is now covered by Medicare, but I am 62 and I don’t have health insurance. Can I enroll in Medicare as his spouse?

No.  Although your husband now qualifies for Medicare, you will not qualify for Medicare until you turn 65.  If you do not have health insurance now, you can consider signing up for health insurance coverage through a Marketplace plan.  If your household income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level ($65,840 for a couple in 2019), you may qualify for premium tax credits to reduce your cost of a Marketplace policy.  If your household income is at or below 138% of poverty ($22,715 for a couple in 2019), you might be eligible for Medicaid if you live in a state that has expanded its Medicaid program.

I am still legally married, but live apart from my spouse because of domestic abuse or abandonment. I cannot file a joint tax return. Can I qualify for premium tax credits if I file as married-filing-separately and don’t take into account my spouse’s income?

Yes.  If you are married but unable to file a joint return because of domestic abuse, you can file as married-filing-separately and claim the premium tax credit.  Similarly, if you cannot file a join return because you are unable to locate your spouse due to spousal abandonment, you can file as married-filing-separately and claim the premium tax credit.  In either instance, you will need to check the “Relief” box in the top right-hand corner of Form 8962 and file that with your tax return.  You are not required to submit documentation of the abuse or abandonment with your tax return, but should keep any documentation for your records.

I am married but my spouse and I live apart and we do not file a joint tax return. Instead, I use the “married filing separately” tax filing status. I have low income and need help paying health insurance premiums. Can I qualify for premium tax credits?

Generally no. Married taxpayers are required to file a joint tax return in order to qualify for premium tax credits. People who use the “married filing separately” status are not eligible to receive premium tax credits (and also cannot claim certain other tax breaks, such as the child and dependent care tax credit, tuition deductions, or the earned income tax credit.)  There is a special exception, however, for individuals who must file separately because of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment.

For other married individuals who do not file a joint return, there may be other options.

If you have a dependent and meet certain conditions, you may be able to use the “head of household” filing status. People who file a tax return using this filing status can qualify for premium tax credits.

In addition, if you expect to be divorced by the end of the tax year, you will be able to file as a single taxpayer for that year and could qualify for subsidies under that filing status when you file your taxes.  However, you may not be able to receive all of the premium tax credit that you’re entitled to in advance if you are not yet divorced with you make your Marketplace application.  Except in cases of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment you should not say on your application that you are unmarried when you are still married.

Check with your tax adviser or a health insurance Marketplace Navigator for more information.

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