Montana’s family farmers and ranchers may have unique questions about health insurance and how to pay for it — both as business people and as households with complicated income streams.

The specifics of each operation are often unique. For that reason, we recommend you talk to a professional for specific advice for you. Health insurance and federal health insurance tax credits deal with how you file your taxes. You may need to consult with both an insurance professional and your accountant to find the best way to handle – and pay for – your health insurance.

There are hundreds of insurance professionals in Montana who can help you – for free. We keep a list of certified agents and enrollment assistors here on this website. Each of these individuals has been trained and certified by this office. They are all legally required to protect your personal information.

What Every Farm and Ranching Family in Montana Should Know about Health Insurance

Federal health insurance premium and cost sharing subsidies are for households with income between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

  • Some family operations are organized so the corporation claims most of the income. Or you may claim deductions that drive your income below the federal poverty line. Both of these actions are common and perfectly legal. However, if your personal, household income is below 138 percent of the federal poverty line, you cannot qualify for a federal health insurance tax credit and you will have to pay full price for your insurance, if you choose to buy it. This is why we recommend people in your situation consult closely with their accountants. There are many good reasons to take deductions. This website cannot tell you the right decision for your family.

If you buy your insurance through, the website will ask you to estimate your expected income.

  • This is how the site will calculate any tax credit you will receive. (The insurance sold through is offered by private insurance companies. The plans, with some exceptions, are identical to what the same companies sell outside the website. The advantage to buying through is the premium tax credits available there.) Estimating income can be difficult for family farmers and ranchers as income can vary widely year to year. We recommend people make their best estimate, but we recognize you may not be able to forecast the next year’s income accurately. You have several options.
    • FIRST: You can change your income estimate throughout the year.
    • SECOND: You can also choose to take your tax credit all at once at the end of the year, when you know better what your income will be.
    • If you choose to take your tax credit monthly, it will be sent directly to the insurance company and you will only pay your portion of the bill. If you choose the credit in a one-time payment, you will pay the entire cost of the monthly premium bill, and the government will pay the premium tax credit directly to you.

If you have employees on your operation, you should know that employers with fewer than 50 employees – or full-time equivalent employees – are not required to provide health insurance to their employees. Family members and the business owners do not count as employees. But in general, as an employer, you may not contribute pre-tax dollars towards the purchase of individual insurance for your employees.

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