ACA subsidies cushion premium hikes for low-income beneficiaries, but affordability remains an issue: Commonwealth Fund

July 07, 2016

A Commonwealth Fund report found tax credits offered through the ACA have made health care plans more affordable for those with low to moderate incomes, and are likely to alleviate any premium increases for that demographic in 2017. Its survey found:

  • Two-thirds of adults with incomes below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) paid less than $125 per month for their marketplace plan, compared to 38% of those with incomes above 250%;
  • Nearly 60% of people with ACA plans make less than 250% of the FPL, which qualifies them for the most generous tax credits;
  • Half of all marketplace enrollees said their premium was either "somewhat" or "very" easy to afford, compared to 75% of individuals with employer coverage;
  • Low-income individuals were also less likely to have high-deductible plans. Just 30% of individuals with marketplace plans under the 250% threshold had a deductible of $1,000 or more, compared to 68% of those with higher incomes;
  • Cost remains high priority for enrollees selecting marketplace plans, with 36% of those with ACA plans ranking premiums as the most important factor in choosing a plan, while 26% focused on the deductible and any copayments. The plan's network was also a determining factor (28%), although nearly 80% said they were satisfied with the physicians in their network; and
  • When given the option, only four in 10 adults choose a marketplace plan with a narrow network.

Related News:
ACA subsidies cushion premium hikes, but affordability still an issue - FierceHealthcare