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The Easiest Way to Apply For Obamacare Subsidies

Tue Sep 29, 2015 15:51:07PM | Categories: Obamacare Signup
Doctor reviewing a patients chart with a mother and her daughterBy: Rhoda Baer

Open enrollment for Obamacare is just around the corner and that means it is time to start thinking about applying for coverage if you haven't already done so. If you don't have one of the many 'life events' that allow you to apply for coverage at any point during the year, you will have to wait until the 2016 open enrollment period, which lasts from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. And if you are on the fence with regards to whether you will apply for coverage or not, I would encourage you to at least give it a try to see if you are eligible for any subsidies that may lower the cost of your monthly premium.

Many individuals who haven't already applied for health insurance aren't aware that they may be eligible for federal subsidies that will lower the cost of their monthly premium and/or additional savings on additional services like deductibles and co-payments when you receive services. Whether you are eligible for free (Medicaid) or subsidized coverage is dependent on the state you live in, your income, and number of dependents.

The best way to get started and see if you may be eligible for subsidies is by visiting the "Incomes that qualify for lower costs" chat at the Healthcare.gov website. You will be asked to select what state you live in and enter the number of dependents you claim on your federal taxes.

Once you enter that information you will be shown information explaining if your state opted to form its own marketplace or whether the federal government operates yours states exchange. If your state operates its own exchange then you will be provided a link that takes you to your states marketplace exchange.

If the federal government operates your exchange then you will be shown a chart with four different financial brackets.

Using Oregon as an example:

Below $33,465

You'll qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid based on income alone.

$33,465 - $59,625

You'll qualify for a Marketplace health plan with lower monthly premiums plus savings on out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles and copayments.

$59,626 - $95,400

You'll qualify for a Marketplace health plan with lower monthly premiums.

Above $95,400

You won't qualify for savings on a Marketplace insurance plan.

There are many variables that determine whether you qualify for a health insurance subsidy, but I stress that you will never know if you qualify for one or more subsidies if you don't apply for coverage. So mark November 1 on your calendar and apply for coverage then. Who knows? Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised.

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