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Obamacare shopping is trickier than ever. Here's a cheat sheet.

Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News on

Published in Health & Fitness

That's because of the other Obamacare subsidy, which reduces premiums.

These subsidies are paid directly to qualifying consumers in the form of tax credits. The premium subsidy is so generous for 2018 (we explain why, below) that, for many people, they could cover the entire cost of bronze plans.

Cost-sharing reductions help only if you expect to pay out-of-pocket costs for docs and hospitals. If you don't -- and if you feel like gambling that you won't need expensive care -- a free or super-cheap bronze plan might be better.

At the lower ranges of this income group, you might be eligible instead for Medicaid -- in states that expanded that program under the ACA. This online subsidy calculator can help you figure it out.

Household income is between $30,150 and $48,240 for individuals, $40,600 and $64,960 for a couple and $61,500 and $98,400 for a family of four.

You're eligible for subsidies to reduce premiums but not the cost-sharing reductions. Even so, Trump's decision to cut them may affect you -- in a good way.

 

To recover the missing $7 billion, most insurers are jacking premiums for silver plans -- an estimated 20 percent extra.

The good news is that higher premiums don't hurt most marketplace consumers. Obamacare caps how much eligible consumers are expected to pay for health insurance -- even if premiums go to the moon. The federal premium subsidies cover the difference.

But that's not all. Trump's move makes the premium subsidy more generous. Here's how.

The level of premium subsidy you receive is based not just on your income but also on silver-plan prices, and now silver premiums are going up a lot. The higher the silver premiums, the more generous the subsidies. But that subsidy is not limited to use on a silver plan.

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