Applying for coverage under the Affordable Care Act

I’ve started the process of seeking coverage under the Affordable Care Act on the website.

I ran into a few snags with the registration process last week, and the eligibility application process kept hanging, but this week, I was able to successfully submit the eligibility application.

I was less frustrated with the technical glitches than with just being confused about some of the questions.  The process felt similar, in terms of flow through a web process, confusion and frustration to filing my income taxes.  Here are the things that I found most confusing:

  • I work as a freelance developer, so my income can vary by a few hundred to a thousand dollars each month depending on which projects I’m working on and the number of hours I put in.  The eligibility web form asks me for my monthly income.  What should I put?  The system then calculates a yearly income from the monthly value that I entered (minus any deductions). Why doesn’t it just ask for a yearly amount.  I could more easily input my adjusted gross income from last year’s tax return than estimating a monthly value.
  • You can get exemptions for student loan interest. How do I figure out how much I pay in interest every month or year? I ended up looking at my monthly loan payment statement and using the amount of my payment applied to the loan interest.
  • My eligibility report said that I wasn’t eligible for any tax rebate or subsidy.  I’m a little surprised by this. Are there any lists of estimated costs/subsidies to make sure my options match what others with similar incomes are seeing?