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If you like your health insurance plan...

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Patrick Brennan is a veteran health insurance agent who has ventured into PPACA World and found the words to tell us of the marvels he has seen.

Grace asked me to help her find affordable health insurance during the recent Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) open enrollment period. She was unemployed at the time.

We went to the PPACA exchange — the Marketplace — together and found a PPO that she felt she could afford, and would let her visit the same providers she had been seeing for the past several years.

She called me again last month to ask for help. She had found work, but her new employer insisted that she drop her Marketplace insurance to take the HMO available through the company’s employee plan. The company plan has a narrower network and higher deductibles than the plan she had found on the Marketplace. Grace said she would rather pay the higher premium and keep the plan she liked. Her employer said she had no choice.

Grace could not believe that she could not keep her plan – and neither did I – but eventually I discovered that it is the law: If you are looking for a job and find one, you have to take the PPACA plan that comes with it, even if it’s a turkey. If you do not accept it, you become ineligible for tax credits and subsidies.

So job-seeker beware: “If you like your plan, you can’t keep it, even if you got it on the Marketplace.” 

See also: PPACA tax credit: What if you get married?