The high cost of unsubsidized health coverage may be limiting health insurers’ ability to increase sales to Americans who look, to policymakers, as if they have plenty of cash to spend.
The uninsured rate for people with incomes over 400 percent of the federal poverty level fell to 4.8 percent in 2014, from 5.6 percent in 2013, but mainly because the number who had coverage from Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) program or another government plan increased, according to a new batch of 2014 Census Bureau data.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) programs and improvement in the economy helped cut the percentage of all Americans who lacked any form of public or private health coverage to 10.4 percent in 2014, from 13.3 percent in 2013, the bureau reports.
The number of people who lacked coverage fell 21 percent, to 33 million in 2014.
The number who had private individual or family coverage, purchased either through a PPACA exchange or off-exchange, jumped 29 percent, to 46 million.
In spite of concerns about the effects of PPACA on small-group plans, the number of people who had employment-based private coverage increased 0.3 percent, to 175 million.
But the bureau found that growth in use of private coverage varied by income level.
PPACA provides subsidies that states can use to expand Medicaid and CHIP, and it also provides subsidies that consumers with incomes between 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and 399 percent of the FPL can use to pay for PPACA exchange plan coverage.