Q What is a health care subsidy and can I get one for the new Obamacare health insurance plans?
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, allows eligible Americans to get financial assistance to purchase health insurance, starting in 2014.
This financial help is called a subsidy, which comes in the form of a tax credit. You can elect to take the credit upfront, so you have lower out-of-pocket costs for premiums throughout the year, or you can take it at the end of the year when you file your tax return.
The subsidy amount you qualify for depends on your annual income. To be eligible, individuals and families must earn between 100% and 400% of the federal povety level. For 2013, that's about $46,000 for a single person or $94,000 for a family of four.
The tax credit amount you can get is calculated on a sliding scale. In other words, those who earn less are eligible for for more financial help than those with higher incomes. But it's important to note that if your income changes during the year, you may be eligible for a higher credit--or have to pay some amount of it back at tax time.
To get a subsidized health plan you must apply during the open enrollment period, which is October 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014. For plans that start in 2015, open enrollment will last from October 1, 2014 through December 15, 2014.
Our Obamacare Eligibility Calculator is a one-stop shopping tool for health plans that are approved by the Affordable Care Act, no matter where you live. Click here to find out your eligibility for all subsidized health insurance benefits, including Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).