Utah and Washington Make Federal Health Coverage Tax Credit Available

This week, Treasury Secretary John Snow applauded Governor Walker and Governor Locke for implementing a state qualified health plan option under the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit Program (HCTC) that will help cover the cost of health insurance premiums for many Utah and Washington residents.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act President Bush signed into law in 2002 included the new Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). Recipients can receive the HCTC either in advance, to help pay qualified health plan premiums as they come due, or in a lump sum when they file their federal tax returns. The HCTC advance payments program began nationally in August 2003. This program provides an advanced payment of 65% of the premium cost for a qualified health plan for individuals who are eligible to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits or certain individuals who receive pension benefit payments from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

In order to receive the credit, eligible individuals must enroll in qualified health insurance, such as a COBRA health plan or State Qualified Health Plan (SQHP). Currently, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia now have SQHPs that enable more than 196,500 of those potentially eligible for the HCTC to purchase health coverage. Nationwide, there are nearly 250,000 individuals potentially eligible for the HCTC.

For more information on a particular state and the health insurance programs that qualify, please visit the HCTC website at www.irs.gov and enter IRS Keyword: HCTC.

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