The subsidies are provided by the federal government to help you pay for your insurance. They are available only when you buy insurance in the marketplace, and they mostly apply to people with lower incomes.
This help comes in two ways: One is a tax credit that you can use right away to reduce your monthly premiums. The other is a break on the portion of costs you are responsible for when you use your insurance. The tax credit applies to any plan you might buy, but the out-of-pocket savings apply only if you buy a silver plan.
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