Vast majority of newly insured qualifying for subsidies

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People sign up for health insurance information at a Covered California event which marks the opening of the state’s Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare, health insurance marketplace in…

Uncle Sam paid out more than $3 billion to Californians to subsidize their health insurance under Obamacare last year.

That money went to about 80,000 households – with an average annual subsidy of about $5,200, according to Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Folks getting subsidies paid about $1.1 billion in healthcare premiums themselves. That means that for every dollar they spent, the government spent three.

Under the Affordable Care Act, subsidies are available to individuals earning up to $46,000 a year – or families of four making up to $94,000. Almost 90 percent of California families signing for health insurance through Obamacare qualified for subsidies.Covered-California-Website

The high-level of subsidies suggests that most of the people signing for health insurance under Obamacare were low-income. A challenge for Covered California going forward will be to sign up more middle income families, with lower subsidies or none at all.

The ranks of American uninsured have dropped by about 12 million since the start of Obamacare. The Congressional Budget Office announced this week that costs going forward will be about 20 percent less than expected.

Open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act ends February 15th.