AARP analysis shows nongroup health insurance unaffordable for half of older adults in 2019

Washington, DC: A new analysis from AARP’s Public Policy Institute finds that nearly half of older adults purchasing health insurance through the nongroup health insurance market faced unaffordable health coverage in 2019, compared to 30% of younger adults. As a result, a growing share of older adults remained uninsured: 9% of all 50-64 year olds, more than half of all older adults who don’t have access to job-based or public health coverage. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), about one in five Asian older adults was uninsured. That declined after the ACA was passed, but has increased again in recent years; 7.9% of Asian older adults did not have health insurance in 2019. Among older Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, the increase in the uninsured rate has nearly eliminated the ACA’s coverage gains.

Lack of affordable coverage is one reason why many adults ages 50-64 remain uninsured. AARP’s analysis found that in 2019, a 64-year-old earning slightly above the threshold to be eligible for premium subsidies under the ACA faced an average premium that was nearly 30 percent of their income. Two recent policy changes could help older adults purchase affordable coverage. A provision of the American Rescue Act caps the amount an individual pays for health insurance in the marketplace at 8.5% of income for two years. This provision goes into effect April 1, overlapping with a special enrollment period that allows people to purchase health insurance through the nongroup market until August 15.

“While the Affordable Care Act has greatly reduced the number of older adults who are uninsured, coverage has remained unaffordable for far too many people aged 50-64, including many Asian American and Pacific Islanders,” said Daphne Kwok, Vice President of Multicultural Audiences at AARP. “We want to make sure that the millions of currently uninsured older adults know that new subsidies are available to them beginning April 1. Health insurance that was unaffordable in the past may now fit in their household budget.”

For more visit www.AARP.org/ACA  

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