How do health care reform premium subsidies work?
People purchasing coverage on their own will be eligible for government subsidies (through a tax credit) towards their health insurance premiums based on income. Subsidies will be provided to people with family income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. The most that these families buying subsidized coverage in an exchange will pay towards a health insurance premium will range from 2.0% of income at 100% of poverty to 9.5% of income at 400% of poverty, with amounts at specific income levels specified in a table in the law. Subsidies are tied to a benchmark level of coverage based on actuarial value. And, subsidies will only be available to those purchasing coverage through the exchanges, which includes people who do not have access to alternative insurance (such as Medicaid and affordable employer coverage). When an exchange determines that a person is eligible for a tax credit based on expected income, and that person enrolls in coverage, subsidies will be paid directly to insurers to lower the cost of premiums (and in some cases cost sharing).