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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.

When you go to your state's Marketplace, you'll fill out an application that includes details about your income and family size. Based on these, you will find out how much of a tax credit you qualify for. Once you pick the plan you want, you'll be able to see exactly how much money it will cost 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. However, it's up to each state to decide whether to expand the program.

To find out if you can get on Medicaid now, go to HealthCare.gov. If the federal government is running the Marketplace in your state, you can fill out an application there. If your state is running its own Marketplace, you will be directed to another website where you can fill out an application. You can fill out one application to see if you qualify for Medicaid or for a tax credit to buy insurance on the Marketplace.

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 covers 3 office visits a year and will also provide free preventive health services. After that, you must meet your deductible before your insurance will provide any coverage.

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