Federal subsidies mean drastically cheaper insurance for many Ea - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Federal subsidies mean drastically cheaper insurance for many East Texans

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Nearly three million Texans will soon have healthcare assistance from the Federal government, which will pick up at least part of their monthly insurance premiums to help make their coverage more affordable.

Joann Parks is just one of more than six million Texans who does not have insurance, but that is about to change.

"I tried to renew my Medicaid, but my kids was renewed and mine was denied," Parks said. "I went online to the health website to try and apply, but we couldn't get on."

Parks, a mother of three, is about to become a full-time nursing student. Even after trying to sign up, she still doesn't know what the plan will cost her.

"I don't know what I'll qualify for," she said. "I wasn't really sure if I would qualify for anything."

Already, any salary below 133% of the federal poverty level, less than $15,000 annually for an individual, falls under the Medicaid program. Those individuals receive healthcare coverage at no cost.

Now, under the Affordable Care Act, subsidies will be provided for those making up to 400% of the federal poverty level.

"The subsidies are very generous, I think, for the very low low income worker," said Wendy Bratteli of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters.

That means an individual making between $15,000 and $45,000 annually could pay as little as $31 per month for coverage under the cheapest available plan.

"I think people who will qualify for subsidies are crazy if they don't sign up," Bratteli said. "It's going to be affordable, very affordable. It's designed for them so they don't have to make the decision between buying groceries or medicine."

Parks makes right around the Texas median income. After putting her personal information into an online subsidy calculator, she was very pleased with the results.

"It's actually surprising," Parks said. "I was expecting to pay between $150 and $200, $78 is not too bad."

It's a small number that will make a big difference to her bottom line.

"It kind of actually gives me a little more hope," Parks said.

President Obama will be in Dallas Wednesday to make another push for the healthcare reform.

You can find that healthcare subsidy calculator here.

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