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January , 2018
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New Report provides County-Specific Breakdown of Tax Credit Eligibility by Income, Age, Race and Ethnicity, Employment Status
Washington, D.C.— A report released today says that in 2014 more than 957,000 Illinoisans will be eligible for premium tax credits that will help them pay for health coverage—a doorway to quality health care for individuals and families of all ages and of all racial and ethnic backgrounds across the state.
The report from the national health consumer organization Families USA includes county-by-county data, which reveal how many Illinois 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 of this year. 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 report comes at a particularly crucial time as Illinois continues to move forward with the development of the health insurance marketplace, or exchange. State-based health insurance marketplaces are a critical component of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions to expand access to more than one million uninsured individuals in Illinois.
“It is vital for these 957,000 Illinoisans, and other Illinoisans who will be eligible for the marketplace, to have consumer and small business protections against the insurance industry in place. In one of the least regulated insurance states in the country, we need strong, common sense checks and balances,” said Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care.
In addition to being the gateway for people to purchase subsidized health insurance, if a marketplace is designed well it will also help to organize insurance markets, promote robust competition among health plans, and keep rates affordable for consumers and small businesses. Currently before the Illinois General Assembly, Senate Bill 34 (SB34) provides for development of exactly that kind of consumer and small business friendly marketplace.
“The Illinois Senate must act on SB34, which then needs to be passed by the Illinois House. That will bring some fairness back into the marketplace for small businesses and individuals, which is crucial if Illinois is to be ready for a state-base health insurance marketplace in 2015. The Illinois insurance industry has been doing extremely well financially, and this new marketplace will also be a financial success for them. It is time to level the playing field for small businesses and individuals,” Duffett concluded.
The tax credits will help Illinoisans 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 Illinoisans, the report, “Help Is at Hand: New Health Insurance Tax Credits in Illinois,” says:
  • More than 957,000 Illinoisans 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 more about 56.5 percent of the Illinoisans eligible for the tax credits.
  • About 55 percent of the Illinoisans who will be eligible for the premium tax credits will be white and non-Hispanic, while about 14 percent of the eligible Illinoisans will be black and non-Hispanic, and almost one-quarter (about 24 percent) of the eligible Illinoisans will be Hispanic.
The report provides the same data on eligibility for counties or county groupings, based on how data are presented by the U.S. Census Bureau, across the entire state of Illinois. For example:
  • In Cook County, which includes Chicago, approximately 414,260 Illinoisans will be eligible for the premium tax credit, and about 54 percent of those residents will be families with incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Approximately 33 percent of the eligible residents will be white, non-Hispanic, about 24 percent will be black, non-Hispanic, and about 35 percent will be Hispanic.
  • In Peoria and Woodford counties, including the city of Peoria, 15,050 people will be eligible and about 55 percent of those residents will be families with incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Approximately 77 percent of the eligible residents will be white, non-Hispanic, about 13 percent will be black, non-Hispanic, and about 4 percent will be Hispanic.
  • In Sangamon, Logan and Menard counties, which include the city of Springfield, 14,590 Illinoisans will be eligible for the premium tax credit, and about 65 percent of those residents will be families with incomes between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Approximately 81 percent of the eligible residents will be white, non-Hispanic, about 13 percent will be black, non-Hispanic, and about 2 percent will be Hispanic.
The report also provides specific data on the employment status and age of eligible Illinoisans, showing that an overwhelming number of those who will be eligible for tax credits will be in working families, and that young Illinoisans (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.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Campaign for Better Health Care Health Insurance Marketplace Info Center

Senate Bill 34 (SB34) Fact Sheet

About Campaign for Better Health Care

We believe that accessible, affordable, quality health care is a basic human right for all people. The Campaign for Better Health Care is the state’s largest coalition representing over 300 diverse organizations, organizing to help create and advocate for an accessible, quality health care system for all. For more information, visit www.cbhconline.org.
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