insurance

2014 brings Obamacare savings and sanctions

Help with paying for health insurance
Help with paying for health insurance © JohnKwan/Shutterstock.com

The spotlight finally shifts to the star of the Affordable Care Act: affordable health care.

If your income qualifies you for assistance, the law can help bring down the cost of your family's health coverage in two key ways:

  • By providing an advance tax credit to lower your monthly insurance premiums.
  • By offering out-of-pocket subsidies to help you pay your insurance deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.

The premium tax credits are available at incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly $11,500-$46,000 for individuals or $23,500-$94,000 for a family of four. You must purchase coverage through your state Obamacare exchange to qualify.

"These tax credit subsidies are provided on a sliding scale, meaning that those people who need help the most get the largest help," says Ron Pollack, executive director of the health care consumer group Families USA.

To qualify for the out-of-pocket subsidies, your household income must be below $59,000 for a family of four or $29,000 for individuals, and you must enroll in a silver (mid-level) health plan through your state's health exchange. The online exchange also can tell if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage under Medicaid.

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