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High-income uninsured prospects are still out there

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The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) coverage expansion efforts may be leaving some U.S. consumers with moderately high incomes cold.

Analysts at the Urban Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) have data on uninsured Americans with high, or relatively high, incomes in two new reports.

A team led by Matthew Buettgens, a mathematician at the Urban Institute, has published state-by-state data on the percentage of people who signed up for individual coverage through the PPACA public exchange system in a review of exchange signup rates.

PPACA provides rich individual insurance premium tax credit subsidies for low-income people but phases out the subsidies for higher-consumers who earn more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL).

The Urban Institute team found that only about 14 percent of eligible uninsured or underinsured people with incomes between 300 percent of the FPL and 400 percent of the FPL paid for PPACA exchange coverage this year nationwide. For all eligible uninsured people with incomes under 400 percent of FPL, the exchange plan signup rate has been about 46 percent. 

At the state level, signup rates for people in the category for people with incomes from 300 percent of FPL to 400 percent of FPL have ranged from a low of 5.3 percent in Mississippi to a high of 24.2 percent in Maine.

See also: Private health insurers struggle to reach high earners

Paul Fronstin, an analyst at EBRI, used Census data and other data to create a large collection of charts showing how the percentage of U.S. residents who had various types of coverage changed between 2013 and 2014.

Fronstin found, for example, that the percentage of workers ages 18 to 64 with no coverage dropped sharply for workers with annual earnings under $20,000 but modestly for workers earnings over $50,000.

For workers with incomes from $80,000 to $100,000, the uninsured rates may have stayed the same between 2013 and 2014, Fronstin found.

The uninsured rate held steady at 6.4 percent for workers with earnings from $80,000 to 89,999 and at 3.3 percent for those with earnings from $90,000 to $99,999.

See also: PPACA subsidy gap hurts the moderately broke

Fronstin found that use of individual insurance increased for workers in all income groups, but least for workers with incomes from $70,000 to $79,000. The share of workers in that group with individually purchased coverage increased to 10.6 percent in 2014 from 8.5 percent the year earlier.


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