While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made remarkable progress toward ensuring that all Americans have access to health insurance, the cost of insurance can still be a struggle for those living in high-cost areas, such as Silicon Valley.
The ACA allows those earning less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health insurance offered on the federal and state health exchanges. Unfortunately, the income threshold used to determine eligibility for these tax credits doesn’t take into account the cost of living of a particular geographic area. In fact, the same threshold used in low and medium-cost areas like South Carolina and Texas, is the same one used for higher cost areas like California. In our state, the cost of living is anywhere from 35 to 65 percent higher than the nation’s average.
That’s why Rep. Eshoo introduced the Fair Access to Health Care Act which would take into consideration real geographical cost-of-living differentials and increase subsidies for those in high-cost areas.