DES MOINES (AP) — Nearly 127,000 Iowans — nearly half of those considered potential customers under a new online health insurance marketplace — are eligible for tax credits that would help pay the cost, according to a national report released Tuesday.
The analysis from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that an estimated 262,000 people in Iowa are potential customers on the health care marketplaces, including those who don't qualify for Medicaid or for an employer-based health care plan. To receive subsidies, which vary by income, people must have incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level — or between $23,550 and $94,200 annually for a family of four.
Iowa is one of 36 states where the federal government is running the online health care exchange. That federal website has faced technical problems since the Oct. 1 rollout. The report noted that the actual take-up of credits may vary by state based on how well the exchange is working.
Matthew Covington, an organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, which supports the health care law, said it was important for residents to understand that they could qualify for help purchasing insurance. He said that message was being drowned out by talk about the problems with the federal website and other criticisms of the rollout.
"Let's start also talking about who are the types of people who will qualify to make this in line with the title of the act which is affordable," Covington said.
According to the report, about 17 million people nationally will be eligible for tax credits to purchase insurance on the exchanges, out of about 29 million who may use the exchanges to purchase a plan. The states with the highest number of eligible residents are California, Texas and Florida.
Iowa is seeking a federal waiver to implement a low-income health care plan using federal Medicaid expansion dollars. If approved, that plan would cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of poverty who don't qualify for Medicaid.
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