I just looked at the California health insurance exchange.
Last year, I didn't make much money, and ended up spending about 40% of my income on health insurance. If I had shopped around for a different plan, I probably could have dropped that slightly.
I had been assuming that, because I made much less than $20,000 last year, and expected to make less than that this year as well, that I would receive subsidies.
I'm not eligible.
Even if I made $10,000 a year, I would still not be eligible.
Why? Because I am an hourly contract worker making over $40/hour. Because my hourly income is high, I'm not eligible for any subsidies, despite not make much money overall.
Guess who that screws? Who is the most-likely group of individuals who work part time for large hourly sums? High-skilled women who work part time while raising their kids. That's not quite my position, but it's close.
I will be able to buy a cheaper plan than what I have now on the exchange, but I could have probably found a lower price policy before too.
How much is the penalty for not getting insurance again? That's looking nice about now.