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Study: 2.5 Million Aren't Using Obamacare, but Qualify

Image: Study: 2.5 Million Aren't Using Obamacare, but Qualify

Patrick Lamanske of Champaign, Ill., works with Amanda Ziemnisky, right, of the Champaign Urbana Public Health District office in Champaign to try to sign his wife, Ping Lamanske, left, up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/David Mercer)

Monday, 28 Nov 2016 05:05 PM

Millions of Americans paying for private health insurance would qualify for Obamacare subsidies — but one expert asserts that many are electing to pay more for private coverage rather than get saddled with a restrictive Obamacare plan.

According to the new Department of Health and Human Services report, an estimated 6.9 million individuals pay for private health insurance. Of that number, 2.5 million could qualify for tax credits to lower the cost of their health care coverage. Additionally, 1.1 million are eligible for help with deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

The report suggests Americans are forgoing the Obamacare exchanges because they are unaware of the financial help available.

"First, many consumers remain unaware of the financial assistance available to them through the Marketplace," the report stated. "Second, some consumers with incomes that may make them eligible for financial assistance may not have qualified to receive tax credits in previous years."

"If premiums in their area are rising, they may now be eligible for tax credits, which may compensate for some or all of the increase," the report added.

But Sally Pipes, a health policy expert who is president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, disagrees, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"[Private health insurance] is more expensive but people get the kind of coverage that they want," she told the Free Beacon. "What good is coverage if the premiums and the deductibles are so high you can't afford to use the coverage?"

"People want choice in the types of plans they want to have, a deductible that they can afford and they want to have access to the doctors and hospitals that they want to see, not the ones that are limited under the exchange plans," she added.

Obamacare premiums next year will rise an average of 22 percent, and "middle income people can't afford that," Pines said.

Major health insurers such as Aetna, UnitedHealth and BlueCross BlueShield have all said they'll scale back participation in Obamcare marketplaces. And next year, residents in Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming will be left with just one insurer choice in the Obamacare exchanges, the Free Beacon reported.

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Millions of Americans paying for private health insurance would qualify for Obamacare subsidies - but one expert asserts that many are electing to pay more for private coverage rather than get saddled with a restrictive Obamacare plan.
obamacare, healthcare, plan, participate
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2016-05-28
Monday, 28 Nov 2016 05:05 PM
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