How do I get help paying for health insurance?

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If you’re shopping for individual health insurance, this information will explain how health care reform makes it more affordable.

Now that almost everyone is required to have a health insurance plan, you may be wondering: If I couldn't afford health insurance before health care reform, how can I afford it now?

The good news is for many people, health care reform created ways to help you get the coverage you need.


If your income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you may be eligible for financial assistance that lowers the cost of health coverage, called a subsidy. You can only qualify for subsidies if you buy your own insurance and you're not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. There are two kinds of subsidies:

  • The Advance Premium Tax Credit lowers the cost of your monthly payment, or premium, for your health coverage. You can have it applied to each month's payment, or you can deduct the amount from your taxes at tax time.
  • If your income is 250 percent or less than the federal poverty level, you may qualify for both the Advance Premium Tax Credit and the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidy. Eligibility for Cost Sharing Reduction means you can buy a silver plan with lower deductibles and coinsurance.


Medicaid helps people with lower incomes or disabilities get affordable health coverage. Since health care reform, the number of people eligible for Medicaid has increased in Michigan. If you're struggling to pay for health insurance, or you applied for Medicaid before and were turned down, you may want to see if you qualify. You can find out by visiting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.

Catastrophic plans

If you're under age 30, you may want to look at a catastrophic plan. They're called catastrophic because you get basic coverage at an affordable price that protects you from medical emergencies. They're best for healthy people who don't use insurance much. 

You have to pay a lot up front before catastrophic plans start sharing the cost. And you can't use a subsidy with a catastrophic plan. If you're eligible for a subsidy, you may want to see if a bronze plan is a better deal for you.

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