To the Editor,

As October approaches, so does the beginning of the marketplaces for health insurance provided for in the Affordable Care Act. These new health coverage marketplaces are where you can purchase affordable insurance and find out if you qualify for subsidies. Of course, we hear many questions about how all this will work. For example:

I know my income determines whether I receive subsidies for health insurance. Is that my income before or after taxes?

The health insurance marketplace will look at your household modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) when determining whether you qualify for subsidies. Household income includes the incomes of the primary taxpayer(s) and their tax dependents (e.g., children). For most taxpayers, MAGI will be the same as Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Here’s where you can easily find the AGI, depending upon the tax form you use: Form 1040 EZ – Line 4; Form 1040A – Line 22; Form 1040 – Line 38.

Between my spouse and me, our household income is about $30,000 per year. Our kids are grown. Do we qualify for a subsidy? If so, how much?

Yes! Because you are just under 200 percent of poverty, you qualify for a subsidy. You will likely pay a bit less than 6.3 percent of your modified adjusted gross income for health insurance. Check here to get a general idea of your own subsidy:

Send me your questions, I’ll answer as best I can (

Steph Larsen,

Center for Rural Affairs

Lyons, Neb.