Affordable Care Act

Obamacare Premiums Will Be Officially Unaffordable for Many in 2018

Published on June 29, 2017

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An analysis of health insurance costs conducted by eHealth finds that projected rate increases for 2018 health insurance plans would make coverage unaffordable for many, according to the rules of the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare). eHealth’s analysis shows that projected costs for 2018 health insurance plans would be officially unaffordable for 29% of individuals and 54% of families who bought their health insurance at eHealth during the 2017 open enrollment period.
The ACA deems health insurance to be unaffordable if it costs more than 8.13% of a person’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI or household income) to pay for the lowest cost plan available. In areas of the country where the health insurance available through government-run marketplaces does not meet this affordability requirement, individuals and families can qualify for an exemption from Obamacare’s individual mandate (the individual shared responsibility tax penalty).
For its analysis, eHealth looked at quoted health insurance premiums for the lowest cost bronze-level health insurance plan across all 50 states during the 2017 open enrollment period, then added 28% to the these figures to estimate costs for 2018. This percentage increase is based on estimates published by Oliver Wyman Health, which projected that rate increases would range from 28% to 40% for 2018.
eHealth then compared those premiums to the self-reported income of over 2,087 customers who bought their own 2017 health insurance from eHealth.com and then later provided income information in response to a voluntary survey. eHealth found that, at projected 2018 prices, Obamacare plans would be unaffordable for 29% of individual shoppers and 54% of family shoppers in this group.
Based on estimated 2018 premiums and ACA affordability guidelines, eHealth’s projections are provided below.
Unaffordable insurance:

  • Health insurance will be unaffordable for 29% of individuals and 54% of families, according to data from the 2017 eHealth customers that reported their income in a voluntary survey.

Individual health insurance shoppers, affordability, and tax credits:

  • For the average individual, age 41, health insurance would be unaffordable if they earn between $48,240 and $71,820 per year.
  • Obamacare tax credits are available to individuals with incomes below $48,240 in the contiguous United States.

Two-member families, affordability, and tax credits:

  • For the average family of two, with a head of household age 41, health insurance would be unaffordable for those who earn between $64,960 and $150,086.
  • Obamacare tax credits are available to families of two with incomes below $64,960 in the contiguous United States.

Three-member families, affordability, and tax credits:
 

  • For the average family of three, with a head of household age 41, health insurance would be unaffordable for those who earn between $81,680 and $166,245.
  • Obamacare tax credits are available to families of three with incomes below $80,640 in the contiguous United States.

Four-member families, affordability, and tax credits:

  • For the average family of four, with a head of household age 41, health insurance would be unaffordable for those who earn between $98,400 and $200,141.
  • Obamacare tax credits are available to families of four with incomes below $98,400 in the contiguous United States.

To learn more about eHealth’s analysis, methodology, and disclaimers, please review eHealth’s June 22, 2017 press release.
 

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