Question: I was laid off 2 weeks ago and will receive a lump sum of about $85,000 (before taxes) which includes severance, unused vacation and funds to help with healthcare costs. I have 2 teenaged children and my husband is unemployed. Is the lump sum payment included in the calculation to determine if I qualify for subsidized insurance?


Answer: The lump sum you received from your former employer would be included in your income in determining your eligibility for a subsidy on an insurance exchange. You can find a full list of items that the IRS includes in the calculation of income here. You can check on your eligibility for a subsidy at your income level by using the online calculator maintained by the Kaiser Family Foundation. If your lump sum payment turns out to be less than you expect, you can apply for a subsidy retroactively when you file your tax return next year.

Robert I. Field, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H. is a professor of law at the Earle Mack School of Law and professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health at Drexel University. He also writes for The Field Clinic blog. Ask Rob your questions about the new healthcare law.