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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

How to Find Low-Cost Health Insurance: FAQ

How do I find out if I'm eligible for a tax credit? If I am, how do I get it? I need the money now. I can't wait to get reimbursed.

There are subsidy calculators online that can give you rough estimates for how much money you might receive. When you go to your state's Marketplace and pick the exact plan you want, you'll be able to see exactly how much money you will get to help you.

One way the tax credits can work is that the government sends the money directly to the health plan you are joining. The plan uses that money to lower the amount you have to pay in premiums for the year. So each month, your premium cost is less than it would have been without the tax credit.

I've tried to get on Medicaid in the past but couldn't. Will my chances be better under the Affordable Care Act?

Possibly, but a lot depends on what state you live in.

Health reform called for more people to be able to get Medicaid starting in 2014. However, it's up to each state to decide whether to expand the program.

To find out if you can get on Medicaid now, visit the federal government's insurance and coverage finder on the federal government's web site, will tell you about Medicaid options in your state. It will also provide contact information for your state's Medicaid office, which may be able to tell you if the program is going to be expanded in your state.

What's the cheapest insurance I can get through the Marketplace?

If you define cheap as the least amount to pay every month -- the lowest premium -- just for having insurance, then you may want to check out a "catastrophic" plan. This type of plan often has low premiums. It will also cover certain preventive health services that will be paid for entirely by the insurance plan.

Often, though, when a plan has a low premium, the deductible is higher. That's true for catastrophic plans. A deductible is the amount you have to pay for medical bills before your insurance plan starts to pay.

A catastrophic plan isn't for everyone. To get on this type of plan, you must be under 30 or unable to afford other coverage.

A high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is another choice to pay less each month.

If you need to get health care often, it might be cheaper for you to pay more each month so that you have a lower deductible. That means your health plan will start contributing to the cost of your care faster.

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