The Commonwealth Fund's recent analysis finds that millions of people with incomes below the federal poverty level could be without health insurance coverage options and face medical debt if their states do not expand Medicaid.
Thirty-two million people under age 65 were underinsured in the U.S. in 2012, meaning they had health coverage but it provided inadequate protection against high health care costs relative to their income, according to a report from the Commonwealth Fund.
Low- and middle-income families were most likely to be affected. In fact, 13 percent-4 million-of the underinsured were middle income, earning between about $47,000 and $95,000 for a family of four, and 81 percent-26 million-were low income, earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or under $47,000 a year for a family of four, according to the Commonwealth Fund.
In addition, 47 million people were uninsured in 2012-a decline of nearly 2 million from 2010, likely due in large part to the Affordable Care Act's early provision to expand dependent coverage for young adults.
The Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion and health insurance reforms are appropriately targeted to those Americans who are most likely to be unable to afford insurance or needed health care, according to the report.
However, millions who are poor will not have any new coverage options. In states choosing not to expand Medicaid, more than 15 million underinsured and uninsured people have incomes below poverty. Without Medicaid or premium assistance, there are no new coverage options available to that population.
The Affordable Care Act would also help those with high health insurance costs, according to the report. Twenty-nine million people with coverage paid more out of pocket for their premiums in 2012 than they would have to pay under the health reform law if they were eligible to participate in Medicaid or receive tax credits.
"The fact that nearly 80 million people in this country were at risk of not being able to get needed health care because they can't afford it, or face the prospect of burdensome debt, is evidence of shortfalls in our system of health insurance coverage, which the Affordable Care Act was designed to address," said Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal. "It will be critical to monitor the law's impact to determine whether it's achieving its goals of ensuring that these millions of Americans gain access to affordable, stable, comprehensive coverage."
This document was issued by ACA - The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals and was initially posted at www.acainternational.org. It was distributed, unedited and unaltered, by noodls on 2014-04-23 16:53:34. The original document issuer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the information contained therein.