PARKERSBURG - More than 142,000 West Virginians will be eligible for new the Health Insurance Premium Tax Credits in 2014, according to a report from Families USA.
The report, "Help Is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits in West Virginia," which includes county-by-county data, shows how West Virginia families in income brackets as high as $94,200 for a family of four will soon be protected from having to spend more than a set percentage of their income for health coverage.
Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, the premium tax credits take effect in January following an enrollment process that begins in October. The tax credits will be determined on a sliding scale based on income. Those with the lowest incomes will receive the largest tax credits, ensuring that those who need it most will get the greatest financial assistance.
The tax credits will help West Virginians purchase health insurance that meets their specific needs in the new health insurance marketplace, sometimes called the "exchange," which is being set up in the state. The tax credits will flow directly to the health plans in which families or individuals enroll, offsetting the total cost of plan premiums.
"The tax credit subsidies are a game-changer: They will make health coverage affordable for huge numbers of uninsured families who would have been priced out of the health coverage and care they need," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.
According to the report, 13,350 people will be eligible for the credits in Calhoun, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt and Wood counties. The state is divided into 12 regions in the report.
Abnout 90 percenrt are employed, the report said.
Wage earners with annual incomes between $47,100 and $94,200 for a family of four (incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level,) will make up about 55 percent of the West Virginians eligible for the tax credits, the report said.
About 92 percent of the West Virginians who will be eligible for the premium tax credits will be white and non-Hispanic, about 3 percent of the eligible West Virginians will be black and non-Hispanic, and about 2 percent of the eligible West Virginians will be Hispanic.
The report also says the overwhelming number of those who will be eligible for tax credits will be in working families and that young West Virginians between 18-34 make up a large proportion of those who will be eligible for assistance.