What kind of financial help does Vermont Health Connect offer Vermonters?
Advance premium tax credits (APTC)
If you buy a qualified health plan (QHP) through Vermont Health Connect, you may be eligible for advance premium tax credits (ATPC) to help lower your monthly premium. The amount of APTC you can get is based on your income and household size. APTC helps to pay part of your monthly premiums. You can use APTC to lower your premiums every month, or you can get the tax credit all at once when you file your federal income taxes. You must enroll through Vermont Health Connect to get premium tax credits.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) runs the APTC program. When you apply for financial help, you tell VHC what you expect your yearly income to be. When you file taxes, the IRS will compare the income you made to the amount of APTC you got. If you got more APTC than you were eligible for, you may have to repay it. To avoid this, call Vermont Health Connect to report any changes of income within 30 days after the change happens.
When you report an income change to Vermont Health Connect, you might find out you have already gotten most, or all, the APTC you can get for the year. This is called APTC exhaustion. This can happen when your income goes up during the year and the total amount of APTC you can get for the year goes down. When your income goes up, Vermont Health Connect will adjust your monthly APTC amount to help prevent you from going over your APTC limit for the year. If you do go over your APTC limit for the year, you may have to pay back your APTC when you file federal taxes.
Cost-sharing reductions (CSR)
You may also be eligible for cost-sharing reduction plans, also called Enhanced Silver plans. Enhanced Silver plans lower your out-of-pocket costs, like deductibles and co-pays. To get cost-sharing reductions, you must be enrolled in a silver plan through Vermont Health Connect.
Can American Indians and Alaska Natives get special benefits?
Under the Affordable Care Act, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) who are members of a federally recognized tribe can get special benefits when they apply for a qualified health plan and help paying costs through a state or federal health insurance marketplace—like Vermont Health Connect. Here are some of the benefits:
- Some types of income don’t count toward the limits for getting financial help. This makes it easier for eligible people to get financial help under an AIAN program.
- People who are eligible for AIAN benefits and earn between 100% and 300% of the federal poverty level can get a plan with no cost sharing—which means no deductibles or co-pays.
- People who are eligible for AIAN benefits can enroll at any time and can change plans as often as once per month.