ACA Health Insurance: Navigating Income Challenges for Alimony Recipients

For individuals navigating the healthcare landscape after divorce, understanding the nuances of income calculation for ACA health insurance can be crucial. Let’s explore a common scenario and provide insights to help you secure affordable and appropriate coverage.


A 59-year-old New Jersey resident is transitioning from COBRA coverage due to recent divorce. Their sole source of income is alimony, which, as per the ACA, is not considered income for health insurance purposes. However, this individual’s income level exceeds Medicaid eligibility thresholds.

Income Considerations for ACA Plans:

The ACA classifies income based on taxable income, as reported on federal tax returns. Since alimony is not taxable, it is not included in income calculations for ACA plans. This can create a challenge for individuals who rely solely on alimony.

Available Options:

As suggested in the post, Medicaid is an option for those with low income, including non-taxable income. However, if income exceeds Medicaid eligibility limits, other options must be explored.

Estimating Future Income:

If you anticipate returning to work in the near future, you can provide an estimate of your expected income to qualify for an ACA plan with subsidies. However, it’s crucial that you act in good faith and report your actual income when filing your tax return. Underestimating your income could lead to repayment obligations for subsidies received.

Self-Employment vs. Employer Job:

For self-employment income, you may provide an estimate of your projected earnings. However, be aware that if your business does not generate the projected income, you may have to repay subsidies received. Employment income, on the other hand, is typically more stable and predictable.

Seeking Professional Assistance:

Navigating ACA health insurance options can be complex, especially when income is derived from sources like alimony. Consider seeking guidance from a licensed agent who can provide personalized assistance and help you find the most suitable plan for your needs.

Additional Resources:

– [New Jersey Health Insurance Marketplace](
– [Federal Health Insurance Marketplace](
– [National Association of Insurance Commissioners](

Remember, understanding your income classification for ACA purposes is critical for securing affordable and appropriate health insurance coverage. By carefully considering your options and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can ensure you have the protection you need to navigate life’s healthcare challenges.

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