If you’re shopping for health insurance, you should know that you can get help paying monthly premiums (referred to as “premium assistance”) but only up to a maximum income level that’s based on your family size.
Premium assistance is also known as the Advance Premium Tax Credit, which under Obamacare provides a series of advance payments from the federal government directly to your health plan provider to help lower the cost of your monthly outlay. Instead of waiting for your tax return, you receive these payments monthly for immediate use. You must qualify for this tax credit annually and once you’ve qualified you can choose — up to a maximum amount — how much of the advance the government should apply to your monthly premium.
At the end of the year, your actual APTC will be assessed based on your household size, your income and any life changes that affected either of these two variables. If the total amount of advance payments you’ve received is less than your tax credit, you will receive the difference in your federal tax return. Likewise, if your advance total is more than your qualifying tax credit, you must repay the excess in your tax return.
Premium assistance is available to households that make up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, which changes yearly. You can estimate the maximum income level for your household through the 2014 Poverty Guidelines (2015 guidelines will be available toward the end of January). Otherwise, take a look at these predetermined ranges to see if you might qualify to save money on your monthly premiums:
- $11,670 to $46,680 for individuals
- $15,730 to $62,920 for a family of 2
- $19,790 to $79,160 for a family of 3
- $23,850 to $95,400 for a family of 4
- $27,910 to $111,640 for a family of 5
- $40,090 to $127,880 for a family of 6
If your income falls below these ranges, you may qualify for Medicaid and depending on whether your state expanded that program in 2014, you could have access to even more affordable health insurance. Be sure to take some time to find out if you qualify for any of these subsidies.
How Much photo courtesy of Shutterstock.