Can I get help paying for health insurance?

    Maybe, depending on where you live and how much you make

    Published: September 27, 2013 06:30 AM

    People who buy insurance through the new state Health Insurance Marketplaces can get various levels of financial help depending on where their household income falls in relation to the current federal poverty level.

    • In states that are expanding Medicaid, all  households will be enrolled if their income is less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level (in a few states that threshold is a bit higher). In states that are not, households below 100 percent of poverty may be left with no affordable source of health insurance. (But they won’t be fined in that case.)

    • In states that are expanding Medicaid, households with incomes between 133 percent and 250 percent of poverty will receive tax credits to lower the cost of premiums, and will also be eligible for plans that have lower out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and copays. In states that aren't expanding Medicaid, households with incomes between 100 percent and 250 percent of poverty will get these types of help.

    • In all states, households with incomes between 250 percent and 400 percent of poverty will get the premium tax credits, but not the lowered out-of-pocket costs.

    The chart below explains what that means for you. (For more detailed advice, based on specific information you provide on your family size, income levels, and other factors, try our Health Law Helper.)

    Health Reform Countdown

    Today is day 5 of our 100-day Health Reform Countdown. We're getting ready for Jan.1, 2014, when the new health law takes full effect.

    See our previous posts:

    Day 1: Big changes coming

    Day 2: Stay uninsured on purpose? Bad idea!

    Day 3: Good news on health insurance premiums

    Day 4: Introducing our Health Law Helper

    Confused by the new health care law? Try our Health Law Helper. And see our full coverage of health insurance and health reform.

    —Nancy Metcalf

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