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Understand Cost

Lower Your Health Insurance Costs

To help make health care more affordable, the ACA created two types of financial assistance, called Subsidies, for low- and middle-income people. If you qualify for one or both Subsidies, you could potentially reduce the costs of the plan with the features you want.

  • The Premium Subsidy could help lower your monthly premiums if your total household income in 2012 was:
    • less than $45,960 for an Individual
    • less than $62,040 for a Family of 2
    • less than $78,120 for a Family of 3
    • less than $94,200 for a Family of 4
    • less than $110,280 for a Family of 5
  • The Cost-Share Subsidy could help limit how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket for your health care. Note: it can only be applied to Silver plans purchased on the public State Exchange. You may be eligible if your total household income in 2012 was:
    • Less than $28,725 for an Individual
    • Less than $38,775 for a Family of 2
    • Less than $48,825 for a Family of 3
    • Less than $58,875 for a Family of 4
    • Less than $68,925 for a Family of 5

You must apply for Subsidies on the public State Exchange, where you also must buy the plan you want the Subsidy for.

If you won’t be 30 by January 1, there’s another way you can save money while still meeting the requirement that you buy a health insurance plan: a high-deductible Catastrophic plan. These plans usually offer lower premiums, and provide no-cost wellness and other preventive services. Just as important, these plans protect you from having to pay the “catastrophic” health care costs that a serious illness or injury could amount to if you didn’t have insurance. With CareFirst’s Catastrophic plan, you would be responsible for the first $6,350 of your health care costs, after which the plan would pay 100% of the remainder. These plans are not eligible for either of the forms of financial help.

If you currently have a health insurance plan, there’s a short-term solution that could delay your having to buy a more expensive ACA plan until December 2014. If you renew your existing plan during 2013, you’re entitled to keep that plan for a full 12 months. So if you renew your current plan in November, to take effect on December 1, 2013, you won’t have to choose an ACA plan until December 2014.

A few things to keep in mind if you want to go this route:

  • You’ll have the regular premium increase when you renew this year
  • Your deductible will re-set on December 1, 2013
  • Next December, you’ll have to buy one month’s worth of coverage from an ACA plan, and its deductible will begin then, too.
  • You’ll then have to buy another ACA plan that begins on the universal effective date of January 1, 2015, at which point your deductible for that plan will start over.

You’ll have to carefully consider if the money you could save by extending your current non-ACA plan using this method outweighs the effort and/or re-starting the deductibles. If you don’t use the health care system much, it might be worth it to you.