Helping Consumers Understand the New Premium Tax Credit
Survey data show the largest barrier to American families obtaining health insurance coverage is affordability. Starting next year, many consumers will be eligible for an Affordable Care Act-mandated premium tax credit that will significantly lower the cost of health plans purchased in emerging insurance exchanges. There is concern, however, that confusion about premium tax credits and eligibility requirements may prevent some consumers from using the new incentives.
A new report by Consumers Union and the Kleimann Communication Group, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, explores consumer responses to a new tax credit brochure, based on focus group testing in Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah. In addition to the brochure, an alternate version of the tax credit timeline was tested, along with a worksheet that health insurance brokers or navigators could use with consumers. The focus group testing revealed that the brochure and the supplemental materials successfully helped consumers understand both the design and eligibility requirements for the premium tax credit program.
As part of the report, Consumers Union tested this brochure with consumers and found that it accurately conveys information about the health premium tax credits and gets consumers to take action.