Even if you don’t qualify for federal financial help, you may still be eligible for help through the state of California.
In 2019, David from Northridge, California didn’t receive financial help when purchasing health insurance. He bought a Bronze plan directly from a health insurance company for $727 per month. But in 2020, he decided to check out Covered California and was pleasantly surprised to find that he was eligible for a new state-provided, monthly health insurance credit of $509. Today he pays a premium of only $195 per month for the exact same plan — an option much better for his budget.
Thanks to a new state policy, close to 1 million California residents now qualify for extra financial help to reduce the cost of their health insurance. That includes tens of thousands of people in the middle class who were eligible for help for the first time in 2020.1 Applying through Covered California is the only way to receive this help.
California is the very first state where you can get financial help to pay for health insurance, even if you make too much to qualify for federal support.2 Help is available for both low- and middle-income residents. In 2021, you could earn up to $76,560 as an individual or $157,200 as a family of four and still receive help from the state. For those who qualify, the state pitches in for part of your premium, paying the health insurance company directly so you owe less each month, while deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket costs stay the same.
If you’re not sure if you would qualify, visit Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool and enter your ZIP code, household income and the number of people in your household. You can figure out your household income by multiplying the wages on your current paycheck by the number of paychecks you expect to receive in 2020. Another way is to take the adjusted gross income from your most recent tax return. First, factor in any income that might have been excluded, including tax-exempt interest, Social Security benefits, and foreign earned income. Next, add or subtract any changes you anticipate this year. Remember that income is calculated from you, your spouse or domestic partner, and everyone you claim as a dependent on your federal tax return (if the dependents are required to file). Include their income even if they don’t need health insurance.
Things change, so it’s a good idea to check each year for financial help that may be available to you. Many people who qualify for assistance don’t realize that they do and leave money on the table. When it comes time to enroll, check Covered California to see if you are eligible for help, so you can get brand-name insurance at a lower cost.
Read more about the financial help for health insurance that may be available to you.