A late-breaking attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) threatens to weaken critical federal consumer protections and raise costs for older Americans ages 50-64 who purchase health insurance coverage in the individual market. Tucked into the sweeping legislation known as the Graham-Cassidy bill are provisions allowing states to receive waivers from crucial consumer protections. Such waivers could allow insurance companies to increase costs for older consumers based on their health, preexisting conditions, and age–potentially putting health coverage out of financial reach for millions.
The just-released Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), is very bad news for older adults. The bill would reduce financial assistance (premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies) and change rules on how much premiums can vary by age (age rating). As a result, people ages 50 to 64 would have to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums to buy health insurance in the individual (nongroup) market.
Stability Fund Won’t Keep Premiums From Going Through the Roof for People With Preexisting Conditions
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), H.R.1628, allows states to create high-risk pools for people with preexisting health conditions under certain circumstances. High-risk pools are supposed to provide access to health insurance for people who cannot get coverage in the individual (non-group) health insurance market. In a previous analysis, we noted that states have never funded high-risk pools adequately. The result: A small number of consumers paid very high premiums for skimpy coverage. Many others went without health insurance because they could not afford it.
If you have a hard time understanding what the wonks in Washington are talking about, welcome to the club. Beltway buzzwords are at dime a dozen on Capitol Hill, but there’s one particular term to watch out for that simply means massive health care premium hikes for older Americans.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established a 3-to-1 limit on age rating of health insurance premiums, meaning that older adults who purchase coverage on their own cannot be charged more than three times the amount a younger person is charged for the same health plan. This important provision protects consumers by limiting the amount health insurance companies can charge people based on their age. Recently, some have called for weakening or eliminating the ACA’s limit on age rating, which would mean a significant loss of an important consumer protection.
AARP encourages Americans to review their health insurance options during the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period that started Sunday. Open enrollment (from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31) is an important opportunity for consumers to find a plan that could save them more money, offer better services, or include more of their doctors.
One of the most frequent questions I get from clients is whether to buy long-term care insurance. With the average cost of a private room in care facilities topping $94,000 a year, according to a 2013 study by insurer John Hancock, it’s a reasonable concern. Many of us will need some form of long-term care (LTC), so the question of whether to buy insurance to help with the associated costs is a real one.
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