About 18% of moderately high-income families that live in high-cost areas and have big medical bills could still have trouble paying for health coverage even if the Affordable Care Act takes effect as written and works as supporters hope, researchers say.
Jonathan Gruber and Ian Perry, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have published an analysis of the affects of Affordable Care Act coverage ownership requirements on consumers in a paper distributed by the Commonwealth Fund, New York.
The Affordable Care Act – the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) – is supposed to start requiring many individuals and families with incomes over a minimum level to own health coverage or pay penalties.
The PPACA minimum coverage requirement would exempt people with religious objections health coverage and taxpayers who would have to spend more than 8% of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs and payments for basic, “bronze plan” health insurance premiums.
About 90% of U.S. families over the federal poverty level probably would be able to afford coverage, in part because the government would provide free coverage for low-income people and subsidies for moderate-income taxpayers with incomes under 400% of the federal poverty level, the researchers say.
But even families with incomes equal to 400% or 500% of the federal poverty level have