Think health insurance is too expensive on the health care exchanges? Think again. Even if you earn in the high $90s and have a family, you may still qualify for a federal subsidy that would lower your overall health care costs.

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Don't leave money on the table!

Open enrollment is just weeks away, beginning November 1.

When the shopping starts, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates there will be 2.5 million people who could be saving money on health insurance that won't.

Many people may not know that they could qualify for a subsidy simply by shopping for insurance on or their participating state's exchange. (If you shop off-marketplace, you aren't eligible.)

And surprisingly, you don't have to be super-impoverished to get the subsidy, which comes in the form of a tax credit. A family of four with just under $100,000 in household income could still qualify. Find out if you would qualify here.

In general, subsidies are available up to 400% of the poverty line for individuals and families on a sliding scale based on income. Kaiser Family Foundation has a calculator where you can see if you will be eligible for health care subsidies based on family size, age, etc. The tool will be updated with 2017 premiums by November. (Current numbers reflect 2016 premiums.)

According to the HHS report, the following six states have the highest concentrations of people who could get a subsidy if they would stop shopping off-marketplace and get on an exchange:

  • California (313,000 people with off-marketplace plans that could receive subsidies)
  • Texas (252,000)
  • Florida (153,000)
  • North Carolina (138,000)
  • Illinois (130,000)
  • Pennsylvania (111,000)

Don't leave money on the table!

What happens if I choose to go without health coverage?

For an individual, the penalties for not having health coverage in 2016 will be $695 per person. That family penalty will be $2,085 or 2.5% of income.

The penalty will be collected by the IRS from your tax return. Penalties only apply if you are not covered through work and you do not buy a policy on your own.

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