As we continue to struggle with how to get more people coverage, I’d suggest a look at this Kaiser Family Foundation report from February. The study looks at people who can’t get public coverage and aren’t offered insurance through their jobs.
Among the findings:
- At 400% of poverty, the outer limit of an income that could qualify for subsidies in California (under last year’s health reform discussions), only 25% of family purchased coverage on the individual market.
- At 1000% of poverty, fewer than half (49%) of families purchased coverage.
Self-employed families, who receive tax credits on the premiums took up coverage at ever-so-slightly higher rates:
- At 400% of poverty, about 30% purchased coverage
- At 1000% of poverty, 58% took up coverage
The study, however, did not take into consideration the regulatory atmosphere — whether individuals *wanted* to buy coverage, but were denied because of pre-existing conditions, or priced out because of their health histories — all important factors as we go forward.
So the upshot is this: health coverage on the individual market isn’t that attractive to lots of people and policymakers are going to have to find a way to make it more so, including subsidies that “may need to extend higher up the income scale than some policymakers may prefer.”