Update (10/2/13): Beginning October 1, 2013 the Health Insurance Marketplaces are open. Go to HealthCare.gov to apply for coverage.
Nearly 26 million people nationwide will be eligible to benefit from the insurance premium tax credit included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new report from Families USA. The tax credit was designed to ensure families won’t pay more than a maximum percentage of household income for coverage. Families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($94,200 for a family of four) are eligible for the benefit. The study, entitled Help is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits for Americans, was performed on behalf of Families USA by The Lewin Group.
The tax credits are a key element of the ACA along with premium rate review, new medial loss ratio guidelines, an emphasis on preventive care and tax credits for small businesses. All are designed to make health care more affordable for Americans.
The tax credits will go to individuals and families purchasing insurance through the health insurance exchanges being set up by each state.
The study found that the majority of people be eligible for tax credits earn between two and four times the federal poverty level and that most eligible families will have at least one family member who is employed full- or part-time. Adults under 34 are the largest group that will benefit from the tax credits.
Families USA emphasizes that eligible families will need to be educated about the availability of the tax credit if it is to be effective:
In order to maximize the number of people who receive the new tax credits, states across the country will need to develop robust outreach programs to educate consumers about this new help. The state marketplaces will need to offer insurance shoppers consumer-friendly, simple online enrollment processes, and they’ll need to build complementary networks of assisters who can provide in-person, one-on-one help to anyone who needs it.
Click on the infographic below to learn more about the Families USA study.