Bush Plan To Provide Tax Credits To Help Low-Income Residents Buy Health Coverage Offers Savings, HIAA Says
President Bush's proposal to provide tax credits to help low-income Americans purchase health insurance would make coverage more affordable than opponents of the plan have suggested, according to a new Health Insurance Association of America study, CongressDaily reports. Bush's proposal would reduce the average cost of individual coverage by about $1,000 and family coverage by about $3,000, the study found (Fulton, CongressDaily, 7/9). HIAA based its findings on health insurance premium information from 12 of its member companies, which collectively cover two million Americans (HIAA release, 7/9). Under the Bush tax credit proposal included in the administration's fiscal year 2003 budget plan, families with annual incomes less than $25,000 would qualify for a $3,000 tax credit. Families with annual incomes between $25,000 and $60,000 would qualify for a smaller tax credit based on income. Individuals with annual incomes less than $15,000 would qualify for a $1,000 tax credit. Individuals with annual incomes between $15,000 and $30,000 would qualify for a smaller tax credit based on income (California Healthline, 5/13). However, the study failed to address "relevant issues," including people who are denied coverage "because they are sick," according to Gail Shearer, director of health policy at Consumers Union. But HIAA President Don Young said the study shows the proposed tax credits would "protect ... those who do not have access to employer-based coverage." Tax credits for health insurance are being debated as part of trade negotiation legislation before Congress, and proponents hope that the debate will prompt broader discussions of the issue (CongressDaily, 7/9). The HIAA survey results are available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the results.