Can You Get Affordable Care Act (ACA) Subsidies Outside the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made health insurance more affordable for many Americans through subsidies known as premium tax credits. However, these credits are typically only available to individuals who purchase health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Understanding the Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace is a website operated by the federal government where individuals and families can shop for health insurance plans. When purchasing through the Marketplace, individuals can qualify for premium tax credits based on their income and family size. These credits can significantly reduce the monthly cost of health insurance premiums.

Purchasing Outside the Marketplace

If you purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company’s website, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, you will not be eligible for premium tax credits through the ACA. This is because the IRS does not consider the insurance company’s website to be the Marketplace.


There are a few exceptions to this rule. Some states have their own health insurance marketplaces, and purchasing through these marketplaces may qualify individuals for premium tax credits. Additionally, Indian Health Service (IHS) members may be eligible for premium tax credits even if they purchase health insurance outside the Marketplace.

Benefits of Purchasing Through the Marketplace

In addition to premium tax credits, the Health Insurance Marketplace also provides other benefits, such as:

Access to a wide range of plans: The Marketplace offers a variety of health insurance plans from different insurance companies, allowing you to choose the one that best meets your needs and budget.
Comparison shopping: You can easily compare health insurance plans and prices from multiple insurance companies side-by-side.
Enrollment support: Trained enrollment counselors are available to assist you with the enrollment process and answer any questions you may have.


If you are looking to obtain affordable health insurance coverage under the ACA, it is generally advisable to purchase through the Health Insurance Marketplace. By doing so, you may qualify for premium tax credits and other benefits that can significantly reduce your monthly costs. If you have any specific questions or concerns, it is recommended to seek the guidance of a licensed health insurance agent who can provide personalized advice and assistance.

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