Families buying their own insurance stand to receive tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average family will receive $2700 in tax credits.
A number of states have recently released information on what premiums will be in the individual insurance market in 2014, when significant changes in that market take effect due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In some cases, states have provided estimates of how those premiums compare to what people buying their own insurance are paying today. However, the report released by Kaiser explains that these premiums are in effect “sticker prices” that many people will not pay because they will be eligible for federal tax credits under the ACA to offset the cost of insurance.
The report goes on to explain how the tax credits will work and around how much premium assistance people now buying their own insurance will be eligible for in 2014. Basically, premium subsidies (in the form of federal tax credits) will be available for people buying their own insurance in new marketplaces or exchanges who have incomes from 100% up to 400% of the poverty level (about $24,000 to $94,000 per year for a family of four in 2014). Those with access to affordable employer-provided insurance or Medicaid are ineligible for tax credits.
The amount of the tax credit is based on a benchmark premium, which is the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver plan in the area where a person lives. The tax credit equals that benchmark premium minus what the individual is expected to pay based on their family income (which is calculated on a sliding scale from 2% to 9.5% of income).
According to Kaiser calculation, about half (48%) of people now buying their own insurance would be eligible for a tax credit that would offset their premium. This does not include over one million adults buying individual insurance today who will be eligible for Medicaid starting in 2014 (i.e., they have family income up to 138% of the poverty level and are living in states that have decided to expand Medicaid under the ACA).
Across all current individual market purchasers anticipated to continue buying coverage, the average tax credit their families would be eligible for would be $2,672. Assuming all eligible current enrollees applied for a tax credit, the subsidy would reduce the premium for the second-lowest-cost silver plan by an average of 32% across all people now buying insurance in the individual market.