Health care subsidies available on exchange

IFB Health Care Working Group: More families may be eligible, check your estimated income.

By Deana Stroisch

Farmers could be eligible for reduced monthly health insurance premiums through the Affordable Care Act.

Sara Sturgeon, COUNTRY Financial’s lead life/health brokerage account representative, helped members of Illinois Farm Bureau’s Health Care Working Group navigate the federal government website to determine whether they could be eligible for subsidies.

“More families are going to be eligible than one would think,” Sturgeon said.

The federal government offers financial assistance called the Advanced Premium Tax Credit. Eligibility depends on household size, and how your household income compares to the federal poverty level.

Related: IFB continues to tackle high health care costs. Read more here.

You may be eligible for a subsidy if your estimated income falls between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level for your household size. Current adjusted gross income limits to qualify for the subsidy include:

- $48,560 for an individual.

- $65,840 for a household of two.

- $83,120 for a family of three.

- $100,400 for a family of four.

- $117,680 for a family of five.

When you apply for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace during open enrollment, participants must estimate expected income for the year they are applying for. If you end up making more money than expected, you’ll have to pay back any extra premium you received. If you’ve taken less than you qualify for, you will get a refund. Participants are urged to report income and household changes to the marketplace as soon as possible.

Outside of the enrollment period, users must indicate a life event has occurred – such as losing health coverage, getting married or having a baby – to proceed to the subsidies estimate.

And these subsidies aren’t just a few nickels and dimes a month. For example, a family of four who made $100,000 in McLean County could be eligible for a subsidy of $932 a month. A family of three in their 30s who made $50,000 in McLean County could save $714 a month.

“This is real savings that our members could get,” said IFB Vice President Brian Duncan.

IFB continues to explore ways to help members navigate the website.

How to estimate your savings:

- Go to

- Click on “See if I Can Enroll.”

- Enter zip code and select “See if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period” and click continue.

- A disclaimer box will pop up that reads, “This isn’t an application for health coverage.” Click continue.

- Select one item as “yes” and click “see if you qualify for a special enrollment period.”

- Do not start or update an application. Click on “See 2019 plans before you apply, with price estimates based on your income.”

- Enter your zip code and click continue.

- Answer the next series of questions until you receive your estimated subsidy.

- You can proceed to plans to see how the subsidy would affect various plans.