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I’m low income and enrolled in subsidized Marketplace coverage now. I just found out I’m pregnant. Under my state’s rules, I now qualify for Medicaid. Do I have to drop out of the Marketplace coverage and enroll in Medicaid? If I don’t will I have to pay back the premium tax credit subsidy?

In nearly all states, pregnancy-related Medicaid provides the same (or similar) benefits as Medicaid for other adults and so is considered minimum essential coverage (MEC).  (In 3 states – Arkansas, Idaho, and South Dakota – pregnancy-related Medicaid only covers maternity care and is not recognized as MEC).  The general rule requires that people eligible for other MEC are not eligible for premium tax credits.  However, a special rule allows women who are already receiving APTC and who become pregnant and eligible for pregnancy-related Medicaid to choose whether to stay in their marketplace plan with APTC or enroll in the pregnancy-related Medicaid.   For example, women might choose pregnancy-related Medicaid because it does not charge monthly premiums or cost sharing for covered services.

If you decide to enroll in the pregnancy-related Medicaid (in all but 3 states), you will no longer be eligible for APTC while you are enrolled in Medicaid.    If you decide to enroll in the pregnancy-related Medicaid and live in one of 3 states offering limited benefits, you can apply for an exemption from the individual mandate and won’t owe a penalty for lacking MEC coverage during those months.  In all states, when your pregnancy and pregnancy-related Medicaid ends, you will be eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP) and can sign up for marketplace coverage and APTC at that time.

But if you prefer to stay in your marketplace plan you can continue receiving APTC and won’t be required to pay it back later just because you were eligible for pregnancy-related Medicaid.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.