Once the federal government’s health insurance marketplace Web portal – healthcare.gov – is actually working, 204,000 uninsured Mississippians will be eligible for tax credits that can be used to lower the price of premiums on the exchange, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says.
Nationwide, 17 million uninsured people will be eligible the Affordable Care Law’s tax credits. The credits are designed to help low- and moderate-income people buy health insurance. To qualify for tax credits, people must earn 100 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $23,550 to $94,200 annually for a family of four, and must not be eligible for affordable coverage from an employer or from Medicaid or Medicare.
By 2018, 20 million people across the country are predicted to receive the premium tax credits, the report says.
Here is Kaiser’s explanation on eligibility:
The amount of tax credit that a person receives depends on his family income and the cost of health insurance where he lives. The law establishes a maximum percentage of income that people within the 100 to 400 percent of poverty income range must pay for a benchmark plan where they live. The percentages range from 2 percent of income for people with income at the federal poverty line to 9.5 percent of income for people with incomes at four times federal poverty.
The benchmark plan is the second-lowest-cost plan in the silver cost-sharing tier offered through the marketplace for the area where they live.
If the premium that a person or family faces for the benchmark plan in their area is higher than the maximum percent of income defined in the law for their income, they are eligible for a tax credit. The tax credit is equal to the difference between the premium for the benchmark plan and the defined percent of their income.
One thing to note is that because marketplace premiums vary by age in most states, people with the same income but different ages will qualify for different premium tax credit amounts.
While more than 200,000 uninsured Mississippians’ will see premiums lowered through tax credits, another 137,800 uninsured state residents will fall into a coverage gap owing to having incomes too high for Medicaid eligibilty and too low to qualify for subsidies on the marketplace exchange, Kaiser says.
To qualify for Medicaid in Mississippi, a family of three must have a household annual income of no more than 29 percent of the federal poverty level, or $5,669.
With Mississippi’s refusal to expand Medicaid under the health care reform law, the state will have the nation’s highest percentage of uninsured residents, 37 percent, falling into the coverage gap, according to Kaiser.