By Stephanie O’Neill, KPCC
Federal tax credits designed to make health insurance more affordable, starting next year, will help nearly 3 million Californians buy health insurance, according to a study issued Tuesday.
The report commissioned by Families USA — a supporter of President Obama’s health care reforms — says that more than 85 percent of all Californians who qualify for the federal tax credits live in families with at least one full- or part-time worker who doesn’t receive employer-sponsored health insurance.
It also finds that 52 percent of Californians expected to qualify for the sliding-scale tax credits will come from middle-class families who earn up to $95,000 a year.
The biggest block of recipients — about a million people — live in Los Angeles County. About 100,000 people in Santa Clara County are expected to receive subsidies and about 75,000 people in Fresno County. (You can look up other counties in the report, on page 7. [PDF])
The report estimates that Latinos will make up half the eligible Californians; whites will make up about 30 percent; blacks about 5 percent, with the remainder comprising mostly Asians and Pacific Islanders.
The tax credits will be “advanceable,” meaning they will be applied as an upfront discount at the time enrollment in California’s new health insurance marketplace, called “Covered California.”
“People won’t have to … pay the full premium and then try to get a reimbursement for it,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) in a Tuesday morning conference call with reporters after the report’s release. “They’ll simply enter their income information, shop for coverage and then get an automatic discount of hundreds or even thousands of dollars.”
California’s health insurance marketplace is scheduled to open for enrollment this October, with coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.
Covered California has a subsidy calculator where consumers can quickly get an estimate.