Almost 20,000 York County residents may qualify for federal health insurance subsidies

dworthington@heraldonline.comApril 5, 2013 


As many as 19,800 residents of York County may qualify for federal health insurance subsidies, estimates a nonprofit health advocacy organization.

According to a recent study by Families USA, 418,000 South Carolina residents would be eligible for the tax credits which are scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

The study does not have estimates for each county. It combines Cherokee, Chester and Union counties, estimating that 10,620 residents of the three counties would be eligible for federal insurance subsidies. It also combines Chesterfield, Kershaw, Lancaster and Lee counties, estimating 18,910 residents would be eligible for a subsidy.

The federal Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have insurance. The subsidies are intended to help low- and middle-income people afford private insurance. People on Medicaid, Medicare or other federal health insurance are not eligible for subsidies.

Under the Affordable Care Act there are four levels of insurance plans, bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The subsidy is based on a silver plan. If a person selects a higher-level – or more expensive – plan, the subsidy still would be based on the silver plan.

The subsidy covers people who earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level – about $44,680 for a single person and $92,200 for a family of four.

Subsidies are determined on a sliding scale, based on income, so that individuals at the lower end of the income scale get the most help.

The subsidy is only available through individual states or the federal insurance marketplace, commonly called the exchange. South Carolina has said it won’t operate an exchange. Eligible residents could purchase insurance from a federal exchange.

According to Families First, the subsidy will be available when a person enrolls in an exchange insurance plan.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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