Up to 17 million Americans eligible for Obamacare tax credits -report

Reuters

Nov 5 (Reuters) - As many as 17 million low- tomoderate-income Americans should be eligible for tax credits tobuy private health insurance under President Barack Obama'shealthcare law in 2014, according to a report by the KaiserFamily Foundation.

The subsidies are a provision of the law that aims to makeU.S. health coverage more affordable. Enrollment in the healthplans began on Oct. 1, but has been hobbled by technicalproblems that have halted access to the federal HealthCare.govwebsite meant to help people in 36 states verify theireligibility for subsidies and sign up.

The three states with the highest number of individuals whowill qualify for the subsidies are Texas, where as many as 2million people qualify; California, where some 1.9 millionpeople qualify; and Florida, where 1.6 million people qualify,the Kaiser report said. It is based on an analysis of 2012 and2013 population and economic data from U.S. Census Bureau.

The states with the fewest number of residents to qualifyare Vermont, with 27,000 individuals, and the District ofColumbia, with 9,000.

Overall, the report estimates, about 29 million people arepotential customers for the exchange, including people whocurrently have no insurance and those who buy private insurance.The number excludes people who would be eligible for theMedicaid program for the poor.

The tax credits are only available for people who apply forcoverage through state and federal health insurancemarketplaces. To qualify, individuals must have incomes ofbetween 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal povertylevel, which translates to a range of $23,550 to $94,200 for afamily of four.

Those who qualify will be people who are not eligible forcoverage from their employer or from Medicaid or Medicare,government insurance programs for the poor and elderly.

Use of the tax credits may vary by state, depending on howwell the health insurance websites perform. Fourteen states arerunning their own online exchanges, and most have been operatingmore smoothly than HealthCare.gov.

The full report can be found here: at http://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/state-by-state-estimates-of-the-number-of-people-eligible-for-premium-tax-credits-under-the-affordable-care-act/

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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