Healthcare can make your head spin. On top of trying to understand all of the jargon and latest news headlines, paying your monthly premium and meeting your annual deductible can cause even more anxiety and stress to creep in.

You don’t have to navigate healthcare alone—we’re here to help. If your annual income makes you qualified, you can apply for subsidies to help make healthcare more affordable. Subsidies can help ensure you get the healthcare coverage you deserve— a plan that makes sense for your health, wallet, and lifestyle.

Ready to navigate subsidies? We’ve got you covered. (No more healthcare puns, promise.)

 

Subsidy Basics

Subsidies are financial assistance from the government that will help you pay for health insurance and out-of-pocket costs. They only apply if you’re buying your insurance through healthcare.gov.

Subsidies were born when Obama and his administration and Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in March 2010. The goal of subsidies is to help more people across different income levels afford healthcare.

There are two types of healthcare subsidies: cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) and advance premium tax credits (APTCs). CSRs are designed to help you pay for out-of-pocket costs.

They offer you a discount on how much you pay toward your copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. If you qualify for CSRs, you’ll also get a lower out-of-pocket max, so your insurance will swoop in to completely cover the cost of care sooner.

The Advanced Premium Tax Credit is a subsidy that reduces the cost of your monthly premium. Usually, you get tax credits like this once a year during tax season. But with this particular subsidy, the credit is dispersed on a monthly basis to help you pay for your premium. Convenient, right? Especially for your bank account.

There is the possibility of getting the best of both subsidy worlds. If your income qualifies you for APTCs, you may also qualify for CSRs.

 

Find out if you qualify

To qualify for subsidies, it all comes down to two key pieces of information: the number of people in your household and your household’s annual income. Once you submit your application for health insurance on healthcare.gov with this key information, the website will then let you know if you qualify for subsidies.

Basically, the larger your household is and smaller your income, the more assistance through subsidies you may eligible for.

 

Hold up. Didn’t Trump get rid of subsidies?

In October 2017, Trump did say he was going to cut healthcare subsidies.

“While Trump, thus far, has not signed any legislation passed by the senate nor signed any executive orders affecting government APTC subsidies, he did sign an executive order that immediately stops government payments to insurance carriers for CSRs,” says James Milber, a certified public accountant and owner of Milber Accounting & Insurance in San Francisco.

 

What does this mean for you for 2018?

“Trump’s subsidy cuts will mostly just result in higher rates, especially for those getting no subsidies at all,” Milber says. “Insurance carriers that participate on the exchanges still have to provide these CSRs to low income customers, but without any support from the government to help pay for them. Because of this, insurance carriers had to shift the cost to the consumer by raising premiums drastically.”

Meaning, if your plan includes CSRs, you will still receive them this year, and will not see much of a rate increase.

It is taking a toll, however, on those who do not qualify for subsidies, Milber says. “When I told a couple who has been insured with me since 2003 that their premiums would be increased to $1,800 per month, they were in shock,” he says. “It was heartbreaking to hear them hold back tears as they made the decision for the first time in their life to go without health insurance. I wish I could say this was a rare type of phone call, but it is sadly becoming more common.”

Bottom line: If you qualify for subsidies, you can expect to receive them for 2018. However, if you don’t qualify for subsidies, you’re likely looking at higher monthly premium rates.

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