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Ask Emily On Take Two: The lesser-known cost-sharing subsidies


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It's time now for our regular health care explainer, which we call Ask Emily with Emily Bazar, senior writer with the California Health Care Foundation Center for Health Reporting. 

A while back we talked about tax credits and how they factor into buying health insurance. Today, we'll explain cost-sharing subsidies. These are the lesser-known form of financial aid in Obamacare. 

Not a lot of people talk about these subsidies and not a lot of people know about them. 

People who make between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level can be eligible for these tax credits, which reduce your monthly premiums. However, these cost-sharing subsidies are another form of financial assistance and they're not going to go toward your premiums, they're going to reduce your out of pocket expenses. These are the kinds of things that you pay at the time that you get medical services, such as copays. 

Not everybody who gets tax credits  is eligible for cost-sharing subsidies. The people who are eligible are the ones who make between 139 percent of the federal poverty level and 250 percent of the federal poverty level. In real terms, 250 percent equals about $29,000 for an individual, or about $59,000 for a family of four.