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How Much Financial Assistance Are People Receiving Under the Affordable Care Act?

Methods

We estimated state-by-state financial assistance by extending prior analysis of those who are uninsured or buy coverage on their own discussed in our state estimates of subsidy-eligibles.

For each state we produced average tax credit amounts per eligible person by age using our analysis of the demographics of health insurance units within the state from the pooled 2012-2013 CPS-ASEC, adjusted by an imputation of whether an employer offer of coverage is available derived from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Premiums for the second-lowest-cost silver plan are based on our analysis of federal data and compilation of insurer rate filings.

We applied those tax credit amounts to the actual age distribution of those who have selected a plan in each state, available in this addendum provided with the latest Marketplace enrollment statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  For each state, we applied the percentage of enrollees receiving financial assistance to the total number of people who have selected a plan. Information is not yet available on how many of those who have selected a plan have paid the first month’s premium, which is the final step in enrollment.

We assumed that the age distribution of subsidy-eligible enrollees is the same as that for all individuals who have selected a plan, which is likely the case given that they are 83% of the enrolled population. Since state-by-state statistics on the income distribution of enrollees are not available, we assumed that it mirrors our estimates of those eligible for tax credits in each state. The Washington Health Plan Finder has released detailed statistics on the income distribution of enrollees, and that distribution closely matches our estimates of the eligible population in the state.

The share of Marketplace enrollees determined to receive financial assistance was not included in the HHS report for Maryland, Massachusetts, or Minnesota, so these three states were removed from the entire analysis.

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