Many low-income Alabamians without insurance could receive thousands of
dollars in annual tax credits to afford coverage through federal health care
reform starting in January.
Insurance markets, a major component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, are set for open enrollment for qualifying Americans starting Oct. 1, with coverage beginning Jan. 1. The markets will offer various health insurance plans, the costs of which will be supplemented by annual federal tax credits to make premiums more affordable for low-income residents who earn too much money to be eligible for Medicaid.
According to Census Bureau data and statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost 22,000 Calhoun County families may qualify for tax credits to pay for all or part of the annual premiums of plans in the insurance markets. By becoming part of a plan, they create a larger pool of insured Americans that should lower the costs of health care overall, some health policy experts say. The Kaiser foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that focuses on health care issues facing the country.
While some insurance companies in other states have released details on the insurance plans and premiums they will offer in the marketplaces, those in Alabama, including Blue Cross Blue Shield -- by far the state's largest insurance provider -- have yet to do so.
Koko Mackin, spokeswoman for Blue Cross, said in an email Friday to The Star that Blue Cross had filed its proposed 2014 insurance marketplace products and premiums with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Alabama Department of Insurance.
"We cannot release specific information about our product offerings at this time, but we are planning to sell individual and small group exchange products ... in all counties in Alabama," Mackin said.
Still, estimates of potential premiums, tax credits and the number of people eligible for insurance marketplaces can be determined with census data and cost projections compiled by Kaiser.
According to HHS, families with income between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for the insurance marketplaces -- unless they are already eligible for insurance through their employers. A family of four with an income at the poverty level earns an average of $23,550 a year. Meanwhile, a family of four with an income at 400 percent of the poverty level earns an average of $94,200 a year.
Census data show that approximately 22,000 Calhoun County families fall between those income averages, meaning they potentially can buy a plan in the insurance marketplace and receive a tax credit based on their income.
HHS estimates that 642,738 Alabamians are uninsured and eligible to buy coverage in the insurance marketplace.
Kaiser Family Foundation figures show that a family of four with a $23,550-a-year income can qualify for a plan with a $10,684 annual premium, but pay just $471 for the premium each year by receiving an annual $10,213 tax credit. The tax credit decreases for families with higher incomes. Also, the tax credit might be higher or lower depending on the type of plan purchased.
A family of four with an income of $94,200, the maximum amount allowed for the insurance marketplace, can also qualify for a plan with a $10,684 annual premium, Kaiser's figures show. However, that family could only receive a tax
Most Popular Stories
- 2014 World Cup Official Noisemakers Quieter than Vuvuzelas
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Top Websites for U.S. Hispanics
- Saab Gets Back into the Game; U.S. Auto Sales Soar
- Dell Offers Undisclosed Number of Employee Buyouts
- Authorities Close to Deal with JPMorgan Chase over Madoff Response
- Apple Activates Customer-Tracking iBeacon
- 2013 Tech Gift Guide: iPad Mini Still Hot; Chromecast a Great Low-Cost Option
- A Biography of Jonathan Ive, Apple's Creative Chief