Marketplace Subsidies - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Marketplace Subsidies

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The new healthcare Marketplace offers another option for health coverage. Your current insurance may be just what you want and that's okay, because you aren't required to purchase insurance through the Marketplace. But it could allow you to get insurance you weren't able to previously afford.

"If an individual decides that they want to purchase a health policy inside of this new Marketplace, they could be eligible for a tax credit to help make that policy more affordable," says Montana Insurance Commissioner, Monica Lindeen.

Those tax credits are designed to make sure you never pay more than a certain percentage of your modified adjusted gross income on health insurance costs. Your modified adjusted gross income isn't your salary, it's a term that refers to your taxable income, minus any reductions you may have.

"In order to be eligible, you have to be between 400 and 100 percent of poverty level," says Lindeen.

It means, if you are a single person making between $11,490-$45,960 a year, you'll qualify for a certain amount of tax credits. And for a family of four, you'd have to make between $23,550 and $94,000 a year to qualify.  

"Which means that about 80 percent of Montanans will qualify because our average income is about 45 thousand dollars here in Montana," says Lindeen. But there are some exceptions. "If you're getting what's called affordable insurance through your employer, you're not going to be able to qualify to purchase in the Marketplace and take advantage of those tax credits."

In addition to being affordable, the coverage would have to meet certain standards and core benefits. And affordable employer coverage is defined as the cost being less than 9.5% of your modified adjusted gross income. So if your employer based coverage doesn't meet those standards, you could be eligible for the subsidies.

"What it really means is you can look at your options, you can decide, yes I want to sign up today. Or you can say, you know, I just want to think about it a little more," says John Felton, RiverStone Health President/CEO.

The online Marketplace opened October 1st. However, in the Treasure State, we are experiencing glitches that aren't allowing Montanans to fully access the site. On October 1st, RiverStone Health Officials were hopefully the site would be fully operational in a few days.