IRS Could Help Find Many Uninsured People, But Doesn’t

(By – Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News)

Nearly a third of people without health insurance, about 10 million, live in families that received a federal earned income tax credit (EITC) in 2014, according to a new study.

But the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t tell those tax filers that their low and moderate incomes likely mean their households qualify for Medicaid or subsidies to buy coverage on the insurance exchanges.

That’s a lost opportunity to identify people who are eligible but not receiving government assistance to gain health coverage, the researchers say.

About half of the uninsured people in families receiving the earned income tax credit are eligible for significant financial assistance — 4.1 million are eligible for Medicaid, and another 1.1 million are eligible for large subsidies on policies purchased on the federal health law’s insurance exchanges and cost sharing reductions because they have incomes below twice the federal poverty level, said Linda Blumberg, co-author of the study. It was released last week by the nonpartisan Urban Institute, a Washington-based research group. Read more…

 

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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