According to a recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, half of the young adults eligible to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare marketplaces could pay $ 50 or less per month for coverage. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the new Obamacare law is making health insurance affordable for young adults.
Young Adults More Likely to be Uninsured
Of all the age populations in the United States, young people are the most likely to go without health insurance. This is mainly due to the fact that young adults are usually healthy and do not visit doctors very often. They would rather pay out of pocket for their care than pay the normally high costs of health insurance. However, if they do experience a major injury or illness, the bills could ruin them financially.
This is why the Affordable Care Act has focused on making health insurance more affordable for young adults. Through Obamacare, young people can access federal subsidies that can help them pay for their premiums each month. In addition, many of them may be eligible for Medicaid, which will allow them to gain access to low- or no-cost health insurance.
The HHS report examined data from the 34 states
that are using the federal health insurance exchange to enroll residents in Obamacare plans. Out of the 2.9 million young adults who qualify for coverage through an exchange, 1.3 million are able to buy a Bronze plan
for $ 50 or less per month after tax subsidies have been applied. Nearly 70 percent will pay less than $ 100 per month for a plan in 2014.
A young adult for this report was defined as a person between the ages of 18 and 34. Under Obamacare, young people under the age of 30 can choose to purchase an inexpensive catastrophic plan that would protect them in the event of a major health event such as an injury or illness. These plans are even cheaper than Bronze plans, but federal subsidies cannot be applied to catastrophic plans, so it may be better for young adults if they use the federal subsidies to purchase a Bronze plan instead.
Under Obamacare, Young People Can Apply For Medicaid Expansion Program
In the states that have elected to expand the Medicaid program
, many young adults will pay nothing at all for health insurance because childless adults are now eligible for coverage under Medicaid. People whose incomes are up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level
may be eligible for Medicaid in the states that have expanded the program. That equates to approximately $ 15,800 per year for a family of four.
If all states were to expand their Medicaid programs, almost 90 percent of all uninsured, single young adults would be able to find health insurance coverage for less than $ 100 per month. However, at this point, only 26 states have elected to expand their program. This means that right now, that percentage is hovering around 70 percent.
State-Based Exchange Data Not Known
There is limited data available in the states that chose to develop their own health insurance exchanges because the HHS does not have all the premium information at their disposal. This is why only the states participating in the federal exchange have been included in the report. In those states, there are 7.2 million uninsured young people who are eligible to buy insurance through the federal exchange.
The results of this report indicate that reports of higher insurance rates under Obamacare may be greatly exaggerated. Under Obamacare, young people across the country will be able to get insurance at a very affordable rate. The success of the Affordable Care Act depends on this segment of the population signing up for policies to offset the costs of older, sicker Americans.
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