Study: Half-million in Illinois qualify for insurance subsidies

Study: Half-million in Illinois qualify for insurance subsidies

About a half-million people in Illinois are eligible for premium tax credits to help pay for health coverage through the government marketplace next year, according to a new study released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The study estimates the marketplace could have as many as 937,000 Illinois customers, with 501,000 people who are uninsured or buying insurance on their own expected to qualify for subsidies that will reduce the price of their monthly premiums.

The marketplace, which includes health plans with a variety of premium and cost-sharing levels, is intended to help people shop for coverage to meet a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act requiring nearly everyone to have coverage starting next year or pay a penalty.

Nationally, the study found 29 million people could possibly look to the government marketplace for coverage and about 17 million will be eligible for financial help paying the monthly premiums.

The Kaiser Family Foundation said it used data from the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Census Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement to make its projections for premium subsidy eligibility.

The subsidies, or tax credits, are available to people with incomes falling between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

For individuals, the subsidy limits can include an income up to $45,960, and for a family of four, that's a maximum income of $94,200. People below the poverty line are eligible for the state's expanded Medicaid program.

The amount of the tax subsidy available to people eligible is based on their total family income and the cost of health insurance in their home communities.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected 7 million people will enroll in health coverage through marketplaces in their states in 2014, and 6 million of them will receive subsidies to reduce their premium costs

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