Half of individual policy purchasers will be eligible for tax subsidies

Nearly half (48 percent) of people buying individual health insurance will be eligible for offsetting tax credits next year, which for them will average $5,547 per family, according to new research from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.

"Tax subsidies are an essential part of the equation for many people who buy insurance through the new marketplaces next year," Drew Altman, president and CEO of the foundation, said in an announcement. "They will help make coverage more affordable for low- and middle-income people."

Here's how things break down, according to Kaiser: 

  • Among consumers currently buying individual health insurance policies, the average subsidy per family would be $2,672, reducing premiums by about one-third for the "silver" plan, the second lowest-cost option.
  • Just counting the 48 percent of current individual policy enrollees expected to be eligible for tax credits, the average subsidy grows to $5,548 per family, reducing premiums for silver plans by an average of two-thirds.
  • Because the premium costs are lower, tax credits will cover a higher proportion of lower-cost plans. 

"About half of the people won't be paying the sticker price," Gary Claxton, director of Kaiser's healthcare marketplace project, said in an Associated Press article. "The people who get help will get quite a lot of help."

Kaiser noted the Affordable Care Act makes tax subsidies available to people who buy individual policies through new state health insurance exchanges, don't have access to other affordable coverage (such as employer-sponsored policies), and have adjustable gross incomes between $11,500 and $46,000 for a single person and $24,000 and $94,000 for a family of four.

Higher-income purchasers of individual policies will likely pay more for their policies, Claxton said in the AP article. "How much more will be a function of a lot of different things."

For more information:
- here's the study
- read the announcement
- check out the AP article