Eligibility and Determination of Health Insurance Premium Tax Credits and Cost-Sharing Subsidies: In Brief [March 23, 2016] [open pdf - 733KB]
"Certain individuals without access to subsidized health insurance coverage may be eligible for premium tax credits, as established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended). The dollar amount of the premium credit varies from individual to individual, based on a formula specified in statute. Individuals who are eligible for the premium credit, however, generally are still required to contribute some amount toward the purchase of health insurance. The premium credit may be applied only toward the cost of purchasing private health plans through health insurance exchanges. Exchanges are not insurance companies; rather, exchanges serve as marketplaces for the purchase of health insurance. They operate in every state and the District of Columbia (DC). The premium credit is refundable, so individuals may claim the full credit amount when filing their taxes, even if they have little or no federal income tax liability. The credit also is advanceable, so individuals may choose to receive the credit on a monthly basis to coincide with the payment of insurance premiums. Individuals who receive premium credits also may be eligible for subsidies that reduce cost-sharing expenses. The ACA established two types of cost-sharing subsidies. One type of subsidy reduces annual cost-sharing limits; the other directly reduces cost-sharing requirements (e.g., lowers a deductible). Individuals who are eligible for cost-sharing subsidies may receive both types."
CRS Report for Congress, R44425
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html