Is there free health insurance in Obamacare?

The consumer experience of Obamacare runs the gamut from those getting an unbelievably great deal to those who are paying ridiculously high prices for very high deductibles.

But the question sometimes comes up: Is there free health insurance in Obamacare?

The answer is… yes, there are some plans that wind up being free for some people.

Premium Tax Credits

Premium tax credits are subsidies paid by the federal government to lower the monthly cost of health insurance for people who qualify. Eligibility for these subsidies is based on income and household size.

Not everyone gets the same amount of subsidy payments. Someone at 200% of the federal poverty level will get more than someone at 300%, for example. The subsidy amount is based on the price of a “benchmark plan,” which is typically the second-cheapest silver plan available to you.

Here’s a table to figure out where you fit on the scale:

 

 

Free Health Insurance?

In some cases, a bronze plan may be priced such that the price of the plan is lower than the subsidy for which you’re eligible. So you can enroll in that plan and pay $0 per month to maintain coverage.

This is actually going to be more common in 2018 than in prior years because of the increases to the price of silver plans.

The Most Popular Free Plan in South Carolina

In South Carolina, BlueCross BlueShield has a plan called Bronze 4 that will be free to people up to somewhere around 250% (or a big higher) of the Federal Poverty Level (see the chart above).

That’s a lot of people.

Like all Bronze plans, Bronze 4 has a really high deductible ($6200) and out-of-pocket max ($7,150). But unlike most other bronze plans, it has a $20 office visit copay for primary care doctors and a $45 copay for specialists. It also includes a $0 or $10 copay for generic drugs (but no copays available for non-generics).

Will Bronze 4 be free for you? Want to see what prices for Obamacare health insurance will look like in 2018?

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