If you're on a tight budget, you’re probably worried about health care expenses. There is some good news: You might qualify for financial assistance to pay for your health insurance, starting in 2014. The federal government will provide two types of assistance to reduce health insurance expenses.
Tax credits cut the cost of monthly premiums. You can have the tax credit paid to the insurance company to reduce the amount you have to pay during the year. If you prefer, you can pay the full premium during the year and get a tax credit when you file your federal income tax form.
The amount of tax credits you receive depends on your family income and family size. Families making less money will get the largest financial support. This includes individuals and families making between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. In 2013, that was an individual with income up to $45,960 and family of four up to $94,200.
Cost-sharing reduction subsidies
Individuals and families that purchase a Silver plan on the new Health Insurance Marketplace—and have household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level may qualify for cost-sharing reductions. For those who qualify, the federal government will pay their insurance company to reduce the cost-sharing (i.e., deductibles, coinsurance and copays) they have to pay when they receive health care services.
In some cases, you may also qualify for the federal premium assistance.
If you qualify, what’s next?
If you qualify for federal financial assistance, you’ll have a range of plans to choose from that offer reduced rates and valuable coverage. You can find those subsidized plans on your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace as well as on Cigna.com. Review the plans and find the one best for you, then go to the Marketplace to enroll or call a licensed Cigna agent for help enrolling.
Do you qualify?
You're not alone. Many people will qualify for the federal premium assistance and/or cost-sharing reduction. In fact, it’s estimated that 19 million Americans will qualify for premium assistance. Young adults/students over age 26 and filing their own federal tax returns may qualify for federal premium assistance and/or cost-sharing reductions. People who are unemployed and without COBRA coverage also qualify.
Native American Indians or Alaskan Natives may qualify:
- Those with income under 300% of federal poverty level may get a plan at no cost at all.
- Those with income over 300% of the federal poverty level may still be eligible for zero cost health services—if they use tribal providers.
How to determine if you qualify for assistance
- Answer a few questions and we’ll show the aid level you might qualify for and plans that might meet your needs. Need more help? Call Cigna at 1.866.438.2446, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday, to speak to a licensed Cigna agent.
- Go to the Health Insurance Marketplace to enter your tax information based on your current year’s income and what you expect to earn next year.
- Be prepared with job history and income information for each family member.
- Save your online forms. “Save as you go” prevents having to re-enter the information.
Health insurance is important—a way to help protect your family from financial trouble if someone gets sick. With health care reform, health insurance will be more accessible. Like you, many Americans will be taking advantage of these programs. You will help yourself—and your family—when you use this assistance.
Got questions? Call 1.866.438.2446, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday to speak to a licensed Cigna agent. Or contact your health insurance broker. If you qualify for federal financial assistance, it’s in your best interest to pursue it. We’ll be happy to help.