Nona Willis-Aronoqitz, 29, and Aaron Cassara, 32, are full-time freelancers and earn more than $62,000 a year, which means they do not qualify for the subsidies under Obamacare. The couple realized, however, they would be able to afford the plans if they divorce.
But if they applied as unmarried individuals with something like their 2012 income, one of them would get at least $3,964 in subsidies toward the purchase of a plan, or possibly even be eligible for Medicaid, thanks to their uneven individual earnings that year. And if they fall below the 400 percent threshold, which Nona says they might this year, they could get substantial subsidies as a couple that are still worth less than what they'd be eligible for as individuals. These gaps are the marriage penalty.
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