Woman in wheelchair, going to drivers seat of car © iStock

Dear Insurance Adviser,

I receive long-term disability insurance payments. The last day I worked was March 2; I was let go because I had run out of family and medical leave time. I am eligible for just over $1,500 a month in long-term disability from my former job. Do I claim that as yearly income when applying for health insurance through the Obamacare marketplace? I wouldn’t know how to predict how long I will receive those payments, so how can I estimate for the year? I am on COBRA right now.

— Christine

Dear Christine,

If your long-term disability benefit of $1,500 a month is all the income that you currently have, use $18,000 as your annual income when applying for health insurance through the Obamacare marketplace. Open enrollment runs through the end of January.

Don’t worry about how accurate that income amount is. It’s just an estimate. A final adjustment will be made when you do your 2016 income taxes. If you estimate too low, you will have to pay some additional taxes. If you estimate too high, you will get a tax credit.

Suggestion No. 1: Keep your COBRA health insurance until you’re able to implement replacement coverage. Suggestion No. 2: Get off COBRA as soon as you can. It’s too expensive for you.

The good news is that your income qualifies you for subsidies to lower the price of your health insurance. Your premiums could be very small, and your copays at the doctor’s office or hospital also could be minimal.

Good luck to you.

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