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NEWARK, N.J. -- Days after the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) participated with Families USA and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in a press conference call unveiling a new study of New Jerseyans eligible for more affordable health care through the law's premium tax credit subsidy.
"The report released today provides further evidence of what we already knew to be true - the Affordable Care Act is working to provide better health care today, and it will work to provide higher quality, more affordable coverage for years to come," said Senator Menendez, who fought for the landmark legislation's passage as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
"In addition to providing families with cost-savings, these tax credits are designed so families benefit right away and without having to transfer any money at all - the credits are not contingent on filing a tax return, so they're available on day-one. Additionally, they're sent directly to the insurance provider so the value of the credits is reflected in lower premiums."
Senator Menendez also noted that New Jerseyans who have health insurance have ended up paying a $1,000 "hidden tax" every year through increased premiums triggered by the cost of uncompensated care.
"By expanding coverage through Medicaid and the Health Insurance Marketplace, we not only help eliminate that tax but ensure that families in New Jersey - and throughout the country - are able to receive the care they need to live healthy, happy lives," Senator Menendez said.
The report from the national health consumer organization Families USA includes county-by-county data, which reveal how many New Jersey families in different income brackets (ranging 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, these premium tax credits take effect in January 2014, 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 New Jerseyans 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.
In terms of statewide eligibility for New Jerseyans, the report, "Help Is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits in New Jersey," says:
* More than 610,000 New Jerseyans will be eligible for new premium tax credits in 2014.
* People 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 nearly six in ten (about 60 percent) of the New Jerseyans eligible for the tax credits.
* About 46 percent of the New Jerseyans who will be eligible for the premium tax credits will be white and non-Hispanic, while about 15 percent of the eligible New Jerseyans will be black and non-Hispanic, and about 29 percent of the eligible New Jerseyans will be Hispanic.
The report also provides specific data on the employment status and age of eligible New Jerseyans, showing that an overwhelming number of those who will be eligible for tax credits will be in working families, and that young New Jerseyans (ages 18-34) make up a large proportion of those who will be eligible for assistance.
"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.
Also on today's conference call was Ray Castro, Senior Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspectives.
Families USA's full report, "Help Is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits in New Jersey," is available online at http://familiesusa2.org/assets/pdfs/premium-tax-credits/New-Jersey.pdf
Read this original document at: http://www.menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/press/menendez-joins-families-usa-rep-pallone-in-releasing-report-of-projected-impact-of-affordable-care-act-in-new-jersey