I enrolled in a Marketplace policy with premium tax credits in 2018, even though my employer offers health benefits, because the employer coverage was unaffordable (more than 9.56% of my income in 2018). Then mid-year I started a second part-time job. As a result my annual income will be higher than I originally estimated, and, at this higher income, the cost of enrolling in my job-based plan would be less than 9.56% of my income. Unfortunately, I can’t sign up for my employer plan until the next open season. What should I do? When I file my taxes will I be required to pay back my premium tax credits because I had access to affordable job-based coverage after all?
First, you should report your income change to the Marketplace. The Marketplace will determine your new eligibility for premium tax credits, based on your higher income, and adjust the level of subsidy going forward. If you make this adjustment promptly, it’s likely you won’t receive any more advanced premium tax credit during the entire year than you’re eligible for based on your annual income.
As for the new “affordability” of your job-based coverage option, that won’t be taken into account when you file your taxes. As long as the Marketplace determined you were not eligible for affordable job-based coverage when you initially applied for Marketplace coverage and subsidies, that determination will hold for the remainder of the year. The IRS refers to this as a “safe harbor,” and won’t require you to go back and re-compute the affordability of your job-based coverage at year end when you file your taxes.