The New Jersey Star-Ledger quotes a representative of an accounting firm advising on how important it is to keep your income low enough to qualify for the ObamaCare subsidies:
Another area that demands consideration is how changes to one's income or household size will affect any federal subsidy he or she gets to buy health insurance, said Brian Haile, senior vice president of health care policy at Jackson Hewitt Tax Services.
Those whose household income is at 400 percent or less of the federal poverty level may be eligible for a subsidy to buy insurance from the marketplace exchange opening in New Jersey on Tuesday. The government can either make the payment directly to the insurance company or provide a credit to you on the following year's tax returns.
The danger, however, is if someone goes over that 400- percent mark, thanks to an unexpected raise or bonus. If they do, Haile said, they will be required to pay back every dollar the federal government spent toward their premiums.
"That is a pretty serious cliff that you don't want to be on the wrong side of."
Usually an unexpected raise or bonus is a windfall, not a "danger." My prediction is that if government policy penalizes people for earning more than 400 percent of the poverty level, that policy will prove to be successful in preventing people from earning too much. They may even prove to be resourceful in figuring how to avoid that unexpected raise or bonus. Some may even use creative methods, such as working less hard.