Report: More Than 233,000 CT Residents Eligible For Health Insurance Subsidies

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When health insurance is sold on a new online exchange later this year, more than 233,000 Connecticut residents will be eligible for federal subsidies to offset the price of their premiums, according to a new report Tuesday by Families USA.

The subsidies, part of the Affordable Care Act reforms, will be offered on a sliding scale to individuals and families who earn as much as 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Subsidies will be available as people fill out their application and shop for health insurance, and the federal government will pay a portion of premiums directly to the insurance company.

Families USA, an advocacy group that supports broad access to affordable health coverage, was unable to say how much the average subsidy would be — because insurance companies have not yet filed proposed rates, and the subsidies are based on percentages of residents’ incomes.

“This will reduce premiums by thousands of dollars for people,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “It means that the remaining premium that the individual or family needs to pay is considerably lower than they would have paid otherwise.”

The goal of the exchanges, combined with expanded Medicaid eligibility for poor and disabled people, is to reduce the number of uninsured people — about 350,000 in Connecticut. Most of the 233,000 who are eligible for subsidies are uninsured, Families USA said, but an exact number is not available. The figure includes 42,000 children under age 18, and it includes some people who have jobs that offer insurance at a high cost, and some who buy insurance on the individual market.

Health insurance on the exchange for individuals and small businesses is likely to be more expensive than it is now, mostly because of increased coverage mandates and other underwriting changes. Insurers are expected to submit rates this month for health plans that will be available for purchase in October for coverage in 2014.

Those prices, if approved by the Connecticut Insurance Department, will be reduced by federal subsidies for those eligible, based on a scale that targets about 3.5 percent of household income among the poorest purchasers, rising to about 9 percent of income for those at 4 times the poverty rate.

Geographically in Connecticut, the number of people eligible for subsidies is evenly spread out: 53,860 in Hartford County, 60,900 in New Haven County and 56,680 in Fairfield County, according to Families USA.

Connecticut residents with annual income between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level — $47,100 and $94,200 for a family of four — will make up 61 percent of those in the state eligible for the tax credits, the report shows. The rest are closer to the poverty rate, but still not able to qualify for the Medicaid because of their income or citizenship status.

The taxpayer-funded discounts will not be avaialble for people who have employer-based health coverage that’s deemed affordable — and large and midsize employers who don’t offer affordable coverage will face penalties.

In Connecticut, about 59 percent of the population has employer-based health insurance compared with 49 percent nationally, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health research organization.

Health exchange subsidies nationwide will cost U.S. taxpayers $1 trillion through 2022, according to a July 2012 estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Additionally, the expansion of Medicaid for adults and children is expected to cost $642 billion during that timeframe and small businesses will receive $23 billion during that period.

However, if the Affordable Care Act were to be repealed, it would increase the federal budget deficit by an additional $109 billion for health care expenses in a 10-year period between 2013 and 2022, according the CBO.

“The tax credit subsidies are a game changer,” Pollack said. “They will make health coverage affordable for huge numbers of uninsured families who would have been priced out of health coverage and care they need. It will also be very helpful to people who have purchased private health coverage, but who have had difficulty paying for it.”

 

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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8 thoughts on “Report: More Than 233,000 CT Residents Eligible For Health Insurance Subsidies

  1. p hofperson

    why is not New London county included. especially since unemployment in this area is so high and people have no money for insurance.

    1. Marilyn

      Hi,
      I think that New London is actually counted in New Haven county, so it’s there, it’s just not listed seperately.

  2. Connecticut is Dying

    More nanny state madness. The printing presses keep printing dollars to fund this idiocy. Hope you all have a chair when the music stops.

  3. Bob Fortier

    So, we have gotten to the point where making over $94,000 is poor? Just the beginning of socialism, where we all make the same and live the same. How the hell votes these idiots into office? Sounds like the elections are rigged to me.

  4. Lawrence

    Let’s see, you have to estimate the yearly income for your particular situation. If that yearly income gets changed due to a “pay raise, bonus, commission” not in the original calculation, look out big tax penlty for under estimating. I mean BIG.

  5. Paul

    Just like HUSKY before it, this subsidy will grow to include even more families, as theose self-employed in cash businesses will under-report their incomes so rather than to pay for private health insurance, they qualify their children for HUSKY. With Obamacare, as with HUSKY, can you guess who will be paying the “subsidy”? You got it, we taxpayers – all of us through increased payroll taxes we have all been paying since January, 2013 that Obama implemented so it didn’t kick in until AFTER the 2012 election had passed.

  6. Paul

    And, you got it Lawrence, that bonus won’t be for you. The penalty for under-guesstimating your income in advance of earning it is probably about equal to any overage under-reported. In otherwords, Obama confiscates it because you didn’t have a crystal ball and you received the subsidy which you were not entitled to receive, or above the level your were entitled to receive based on your original guesstimate. And, we still call this a free country, LOL!

  7. sohbet

    That may offer a short-term benefit for certain consumers and shield some of those individual policyholders from potentially steep rate increases yuva So, we have gotten to the point where making over $94,000 is poor? Just the beginning of socialism, where we all make the same and live the same.

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