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Eshoo, Thompson Reintroduce Legislation to Make Health Insurance More Affordable for Families in High Cost Areas

March 16th, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C— Today, U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Mike Thompson (CA-5) reintroduced the Fair Access to Health Care Act, legislation to expand the eligibility for premium tax credits for people living in high-cost areas who purchase health insurance through the federal and state exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The ACA has been successful in helping lower income Americans buy private health insurance with subsidies adjusted to their income level,” Eshoo said. “While this is tremendously helpful to millions of individuals and families, there are others in high-cost areas who cannot benefit because the threshold to qualify for subsidies does not account for the high cost of living.”

Eshoo continued, “The Fair Access to Health Care Act ties health insurance subsidies to the cost of living of a geographic area instead of to the national federal poverty level. In doing so, we can improve the ACA by expanding access to health insurance, help the middle class and improve our nation’s health.”

“No one should have to go without the healthcare they need. The ACA has been tremendously helpful for many working families, but some hardworking Americans in particularly high-cost areas still struggle to afford health insurance. They shouldn’t be left behind. I’m proud to work with Rep. Eshoo to help more Americans get the care they need,” Rep. Thompson said.

Currently the ACA allows those making between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) to qualify for premium tax credits to help them purchase health insurance through the ACA’s exchanges. At this level, an individual making up to $45,960 and a family of four making up to $94,200 qualify for premium tax credits.

However, the income threshold used to determine eligibility for these tax credits doesn’t take into account the cost of living for different geographic areas. A family living in New York City or San Francisco is treated the same as a family living in areas with a lower cost of living. The Fair Access to Health Care Act would allow the premium tax credits offered through the ACA to be increased proportionally based on an area’s cost of living.

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