The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes two primary mechanisms for helping people afford health coverage. Starting in 2014, people with family incomes up to 138% of the poverty level ($31,809 for a family of four and $15,415 for a single person in 2012) will generally be eligible for the Medicaid program. And, people buying coverage on their own in new state-based health insurance exchanges will be eligible for federal tax credits to subsidize the cost of insurance. Tax credits will be calculated on a sliding scale basis for people with family income up to four times the poverty level ($92,200 for a family of four and $44,680 for a single person in 2012). (A calculator from the Kaiser Family Foundation illustrates the assistance people would be eligible for at different income levels and ages.)
The share of the population who will benefit from new Medicaid eligibility and the new health insurance tax credit will vary substantially throughout the country. We’ve illustrated that variation by estimating the share of the population in over 2,000 geographic areas across the U.S. who had family income up to four times the poverty level in 2010 and were either uninsured or buying coverage on their own.
On average, an estimated 17% of the non-elderly population nationwide would benefit from the Medicaid expansion and tax credits. In parts of Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and California, 36-40% of population could benefit. In areas of Massachusetts, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut – states that generally have high levels of employer-provided health insurance or have already implemented reforms to make insurance more accessible and affordable – 2-4% of the non-elderly could benefit from the coverage expansions in the ACA.
There’s a place to plug in your zip code at the link. My zip code comes in at 18% will benefit, which is a little above the national average.