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Who is eligible to claim the new ACA premium tax credit this year? A look at data from 10 states

Each year millions of low- to moderate-income Americans supplement their income by claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) during tax season. Last year, 1 in 5 taxpayers claimed the credit and earned an average of nearly $2,400.

This tax season, some of those eligible for the EITC may also be able to claim, for the first time, a new credit created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to offset the cost of purchasing health insurance for lower-income Americans. It’s called the ACA premium tax credit.

To qualify for the ACA premium tax credit, filers need first to have an annual income that falls between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line (between $11,670 and $46,680 for a single-person household in 2014). Beyond the income requirements, however, filers must also be ineligible for other public or private insurance options like Medicaid or an employer-provided plan.

Why the tax credit overlap matters

Identifying the Americans eligible for both credits is important because it sheds light on how many still need help paying for health insurance even after the ACA extended coverage options.

In a recent study of the EITC-eligible population, Elizabeth Kneebone, Jane R. Williams, and Natalie Holmes estimated what share of EITC-eligible filers might also qualify for the ACA premium tax credit this year.

Below, see a list of the top 10 states with the largest overlap between filers eligible for the EITC and those estimated to qualify for the ACA premium tax credit.* Notably, none of these states has expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income families after the passage of the ACA.

Nationally, an estimated 7.5 million people (4.2 million “tax units”) are likely eligible for both the ACA premium tax credit and the EITC. Nearly 1.3 million of those tax units are from the following ten states.

1. Florida

Overlap: 22.5 percent / 405,924 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

2. Texas

Overlap: 21.4 percent / 513,061 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

3. South Dakota

Overlap: 20.5 percent / 15,124 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

4. Georgia

Overlap: 19.8 percent / 186,020 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

5. Louisiana

Overlap: 19.6 percent / 86,512 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

6. Idaho

Author

Overlap: 19.3 percent / 28,855 tax units
State-based exchange? Yes Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

7. Montana

Overlap: 18.9 percent / 18,138 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

8. Wyoming

Overlap: 18.4 percent / 7,276 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

9. Utah

Overlap: 18.1 percent / 42,284
State-based exchange? No (Utah runs a small businesses marketplace, but it relies on the federal government for an individual marketplace) Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

10. Oklahoma

Overlap: 18.0% / 63,045 tax units
State-based exchange? No Expanded Medicaid coverage? No

* For the purposes of this list, we measured the overlap in “tax units,” not people. One tax unit equals a single tax return. If a family of four together qualifies for the ACA premium tax credit, they would be counted as one tax unit, not four, since they filed jointly with one tax return.

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