While there are steep fines for knowingly lying on a government application for financial assistance, if someone merely miscalculates their income above the poverty level in 2016, and is later found to have made less than the poverty level, they won’t have to pay any money back, according to the Treasury Department.
Under the Affordable Care Act, everyone under 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $15,870 for an individual, was supposed to qualify for Medicaid. But after the Supreme Court last year made the Medicaid expansion optional, only 23 states and the District of Columbia opted to expand the program in 2014. Texas and Florida — the two biggest states that are not expanding Medicaid — have a total of about 3 million people under the poverty level who are currently uninsured.
Medicaid is a much more affordable option for people at or near the poverty level because of its limited out of pocket costs, but experts say qualifying for subsidies to get private insurance would be better than having no coverage.