900,000 in Pa. may qualify for health-care help

    Health advocates are trying to get the word out about financial help available to middle-income Pennsylvanians in the market for health-care coverage.

    Families USA, which bills itself as a nonpartisan nonprofit, says the assistance can help those who don’t have comprehensive and affordable coverage through their employer or a government program.

    The group’s policy director estimates that nearly 900,000 Pennsylvanians will be eligible for financial assistance in the form of a premium tax credit.

    “But it doesn’t work like your usual tax credit. It’s advanceable, which means that you get it when you buy the insurance, and you don’t have to wait ’til April to get reimbursed when you file your taxes,” said Kathleen Stoll. “And importantly, it’s refundable, which means that even if you don’t pay any taxes, you still get the dollars to pay for health insurance.”

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    The assistance will be available with the launch of the state’s online health care marketplace on Oct. 1.

    “Basically the financial help in Pennsylvania is available to people with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level,” Stoll said.

    Those earning between roughly $11,000 and $46,000 a year, or families with an annual income of between roughly $24,000 and $94,000 would qualify.

    While details are scarce, coverage under the plans offered through the exchange will kick in next January.

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