September 17, 2013

How Much Are Health Care Subsidies?

With the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) commonly known as "Obamacare" there will now be tax credit subsidies to help pay for health insurance.   To be eligible you have to buy insurance on your own (outside of employer plans ) and have a family income that is 400% of the federal poverty level or lower. 

Keep in mind this won't impact most people since most people get insurance through their employer or via government programs like medicare or medicaid.   You are only eligible for a subsidy if you buy private insurance via an exchange.

How much are the tax credits available? 

They figure the subsidy based on how much the tax payer is expected to pay for insurance and then the subsidy pays the rest of the cost for a 'silver' level plan. 

In other words :

Subsidy = Cost of silver plan - Tax payer premium

The tax payer premium is a % of their income based on the following table :

Federal Poverty Level % of income
under 133 2%
133 3%
150 4%
200 6.3%
250 8.05%
300 9.5%
400 9.5%

I found the table both at the KFF and in a US News article.

If your income is in between one of those points then there will be a sliding scale.   So for example if you're at 225% of poverty then you'll be halfway between 200 and 250 so your % of income is the midpoint of 6.3% and 8.05% or 7.175%. 

Also refer to the 2013 Federal poverty levels

Abbreviated table :

Persons in family Poverty level
1 $11,490
2 $15,510
3 $19,530
4 $23,550
5 $27,570

Lets say for example that you're a 40 year old single person making $28,725 that would put you right at 250% of the poverty level.  So your premium is 8.05% of your income which is $2,312.36  

Now lets say as an example that a 'silver' level health plan would cost you $4,800 a year.   Therefore the subsidy is $4800 - $2312.36 = $2,487.64


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