If you know someone who is uninsured, or buys her own insurance in the individual market– and lives in Texas, North Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama– chances are greater than 1 in 3 that under Obamacare she will qualify for health insurance that will cost her nothing. That’s right—her government tax credit will cover the entire premium.
It gets better. After shopping the state Exchanges during the first two weeks of October, McKinsey & Co, a leading global management consulting firm, discovered that people who are currently uninsured (or who buy their own insurance) in Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maine, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Idaho, Montana or Alaska– stand a 1 in 4 chance of qualifying for a $0 policy.
How can that be? McKinsey explains that their income will makes them eligible for a government subsidy that will be larger than the policy’s premium. Americans earning somewhere between $11,490 and 400% of the FPL ($48, 950 for an individual, $62,040 for a couple, $94,200 for a family) will receive subsidies. The lower your income, the larger it will be, and the more likely it is that your premium will be Zero .
This table from Credit Suisse reveals that in many states, uninsured Americans earning less than 175% of the Federal Poverty Level (roughly $20,100 for an individual; $21,750 for a couple; $34,170 for a family of three; $41, 200 for a family of four) will be able to find zero-premium plans. Even if you earn somewhat more, it’s well worth the time it will take to check with your state marketplace. You may discover that while coverage isn’t free, your subsidy will bring the cost down to as little as $20 a month.
Credit Suisse analyst Ralph Giacobbe agrees that roughly “6.5 million Americans … will be eligible for a $0 premium plan.” As a result, he believes that “affordability may not be a roadblock” to achieving the Congressional Budget Office projection that 7 million people will buy insurance in the exchanges in 2014
“Simply put, we don’t see any logical reason why anyone in this population wouldn’t take free healthcare coverage vs. remaining uninsured.”
The only question is this: How many people will hear about the free plans? Can we count on the media to inform the public? (Hat tip to the New York Times for publishing a front-page story about the McKinsey research.) Now, I would love to see the story on FOX – and in Forbes.
You can help spread the word. Do you know someone who is single, earns somewhere between $11, 490 and roughly $20,100 (175% of the FPL) and does not have employer-sponsored insurance? A graduate student? Your cousin’s son?
Do you know a family of three with income under $34,170 (175% of the FPL) Perhaps the stay-at-home Mom down the street who just had a baby?
Good News for 20-Somethings and 30-Somethings
McKinsey reports that about half of those who will be able to purchase zero-premium insurance will be under 39 years old.
I originally published this story on the Health Insurance Resource Center Blog. Click there to read the rest of the post—and find out more about the cap on the co-pays and deductibles that someone with a $0 premium plan would pay.
You can comment on the Health Insurance Resource Center Blog, or you come back here to respond.