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The neighbor getting Social Security would pay an estimated $206 a month in premiums.

But the neighbor who makes all his income from work would pay $313 for health insurance, or about 50 percent more.

The early retiree can shield half his Social Security income, or $9,750. On paper, he would look poorer, making him eligible for a bigger tax credit to offset his premiums. But the full-time worker could not deduct any of his earnings.

The estimates were produced using an online calculator from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

The disparities appear to be even greater for married couples and families in which at least one member is getting Social Security. With a bigger household, both the cost of coverage and the federal subsidies involved are considerably larger.

The glitch seems to be the result of an effort by Congress to make things simpler. Lawmakers decided to use the definition of income in the tax code, which protects Social Security benefits from taxation.

The decision to use the tax code’s definition of income has created other problems.

Medicare’s top number-cruncher is warning that up to 3 million middle-class people in households that get at least part of their income from Social Security could suddenly become eligible for nearly free coverage through Medicaid, the federal-state safety net program for the poor. Chief Actuary Richard Foster says that situation “just doesn’t make sense.”

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Online:

Kaiser Health Reform Subsidy Calculator: http://tinyurl.com/ydopqx7