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What the Health Care Law Means for People With Limited Income

En español l The health care law gives people with limited income new options for getting health coverage. It does this in two ways. It gives states the option to expand Medicaid to more people. It also makes financial help available to people with limited income who buy health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Expands Medicaid

  • Medicaid is the joint state and federal government program that pays the health care costs for many people with limited income.
  • Before the health care law, millions of uninsured 50- to 64-year-old Americans, as well as many younger people, were not eligible for Medicaid, no matter how low their income.
  • Your state has the option to make Medicaid available to more people. Your state can also decide not to make this change.

If your state decides to make this change, Medicaid will pay most of your health care costs, if you:

  • Are younger than 65,
  • Do not have Medicare, and
  • Are single and earn less than $16,243, or are part of a couple that earns less than $21,983. These figures, based on the 2015 federal poverty level, are subject to change

Helps pay for insurance

  • If you can’t get Medicaid, you may be able to get financial help to pay for the health insurance you buy through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The amount of help you can get depends on your income.  
  • If you need insurance because your employer doesn’t make it available, you are self-employed or not working, or you have been denied coverage, you can shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state.
  • In the marketplace you will be able to shop for health insurance.  You’ll be able to compare the benefits and costs of health plans side by side.
    Health insurance plans in the marketplace are required to cover important benefits, such as doctor visits, emergency care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, preventive care and more.

It’s time to learn more about the health care law. Go to

Updated February 2014

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