Lower Your Costs
Financial Help Still Available for 2018
Contrary to what you may have heard, financial help will be available for 2018. You may have also heard that the current administration has decided to end Cost-Sharing Reduction payments. These payments are reimbursements to health insurance companies. It does NOT eliminate Cost-Sharing Reductions for you.
In fact, many customers receiving financial help through Connect for Health Colorado will likely pay less in 2018 than in 2017. They will see the premium that they pay (full premium minus the Premium Tax Credit amount) go down by 20% on average in 2018.
The next Open Enrollment Period to purchase health insurance coverage is from November 1, 2017 – January 12, 2018.
There are four ways individuals and families can reduce their costs, if eligible, when purchasing health insurance:
- Premium Tax Credits – Financial assistance to lower your monthly health insurance premium.
- Cost-Sharing Reductions – A discount that lowers the amount you pay when you receive care.
- Compare Plans – As with any large purchase, it pays to compare costs and benefits.
- Be Insurance Smart – Knowing how to use your insurance can save you money.
Small businesses can also save on the cost of providing health insurance to their employees.
Our customers received an average of $369 per month last year to help reduce their monthly premium costs. If you fall within the ranges below, you may also qualify for financial assistance in the form of Premium Tax Credits that you can take in advance to reduce your monthly premium or take the full mount when you complete your taxes for 2017. Before you shop, use our Quick Cost & Plan Finder tool to get an idea of what your potential savings. You must complete a full application for financial assistance to get a final determination of your eligibility.
We’ll ask you for an estimate of your annual Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) for the period that you will be covered by insurance. If you’re significantly below any of the amounts in the above figure, you may qualify for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program). To see what you may qualify for, check out our Income Guidelines.
You Decide How to Take Your Tax Credit
If you qualify for a tax credit, you get to decide how to spend it.
- Apply it to your monthly premiums to reduce your costs. The credit will be sent to your health insurance company each month and you will pay the difference. Or,
- Wait and claim it at the end of the year. You will receive it as a refund on your tax return at the end of the year.
Make sure to tell us if anything like your household size or income changes throughout the year so we can adjust your tax credit if need be, or see if you qualify for more! If either of these changes occurs, now making you ineligible for the tax credit, you may have to pay back any money you received throughout the year when you file your tax return.
In addition to Premium Tax Credits, cost-sharing reductions are available to those with low-to-moderate income who qualify and who enroll in a silver plan through Connect for Health Colorado. Health insurance plans typically require some form of cost sharing (also called out-of-pocket costs) when you receive covered health care services. Cost-Sharing Reductions help you save on these expenses, which are in addition to your monthly premium and come in a variety of forms, including:
- Copayments: Set dollar amounts for covered services
- Coinsurance: A percentage of the allowed cost for covered services
- Deductibles: Set dollar amounts that enrollees must pay before their plan starts to cover the service or a group of services
If your income is between $16,040 and $30,150, there are three different discount levels that reduce the amount you pay when you receive care. The lower your income, the bigger your discount. But remember, if you are eligible for Cost-Sharing Reductions, you MUST purchase a silver-level plan to take advantage of these out-of-pocket savings.
Check out our Income Guidelines to see what you may qualify for.
It pays to compare plans, especially if you are a current customer and saw your rates increase for 2017. Consider switching to the lowest-cost plan in your current metal tier. That alone can reduce the amount of your increase, on average, by close to half.
In addition, there is an opportunity to reduce monthly premiums by shopping around and comparing plans but the premium amount should not be your only consideration. You should factor in out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions, as those will affect what they pay for care through the course of the year. You may pay less each month, but owe more when you need care. Our expert Brokers can help evaluate benefits that meet your health and financial needs.
Select a plan that includes your preferred doctor and hospital as “in-network.” Going to a doctor or facility that is considered “out-of-network” will cost you more. Also, make sure that your plan covers your preferred medications. Use our Quick Cost & Plan Finder tool to browse plans that include your preferences and get a sense of your out-of-pocket costs. We also offer some helpful tips on how to use your health insurance wisely.
All private health plans available through Connect for Health Colorado must cover a set of essential health benefits, including many free, preventive services like cancer screenings, immunizations, smoking cessation, and well-baby and well-child visits. Make sure you take advantage of these free services to stay healthy throughout the year!
Tax credits for small businesses are available through Connect for Health Colorado year round. If you have fewer than 25 employees, pay average annual wages below $50,000 and provide health insurance, you may qualify for a small business tax credit of up to 50 percent (35 percent for nonprofits) to offset the cost of premiums for your employees.Estimate Your Savings Estimate your Small Business Tax Credit