Approximately 46 percent of single, uninsured young adults living in 34 of the states with a federal Obamacare marketplace will be able to purchase basic health coverage — a bare-bones “Bronze” level plan — for less than $50 per month after factoring in federal tax subsidies, according to a new report by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
An even greater number of young and uninsured single adults between the ages of 18 and 34 will be able to get coverage for less than $100 per month, according to government data. “Of [the 2.9 million] potentially Marketplace-eligible uninsured single young adults, approximately 1.9 million… may be able to pay $100 or less per month in 2014,” wrote the report authors. That’s nearly two-thirds of young adults who qualify for Obamacare marketplace coverage in the 34 states.
An additional one million young adults will also now qualify for Medicaid coverage under Obamacare’s expansion of the program. All told, the report finds that 40 percent of the 7.2 million young, uninsured adults living in the 34 states will be able to get coverage for $100 per month or less thanks to the health law. That works out to be 2.9 million people.
If all of the 34 states had chosen to expand Medicaid, however, that number would actually spike to 6.2 million people. That’s because many young adults earn little enough money to qualify for the program under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Earlier independent studies have found that families who qualify for Obamacare’s subsidies will get an average annual credit of $5,548 per year to help pay for insurance under the law. That would cover a full 66 percent of these families’ health premiums. A September report by HHS also found that 6.4 million Americans across all ages can get insurance through Obamacare’s marketplaces for less than $100 per month.
Those figures provide a contrast with recent reports that the health law is driving up individual policy premiums and even causing consumers to get cancellation notices from insurers. These stories tend to ignore the reality that many of these plans allure customers with deceptively low monthly premiums, but offer skimpy benefits, fail to cover out-of-pocket costs, and come loaded with high deductibles that are of little help in the case of a medical emergency. Obamacare marketplace plans must offer a wider variety of benefits, cannot deny people based on having a pre-existing medical condition, and limit cost-sharing depending on a person’s income.