Health insurance could increase if COVID benefits are not extended
Low-income households could see their premiums double, according to research from Covered California.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Nearly two million Californians could be cut off from their health insurance when the U.S. bailout expires at the end of the year, according to a California analysis covered.
1.8 million people in California have health insurance through Covered California.
Low-income households could see their premiums double. Not only would premiums increase for everyone, but middle-income households would no longer qualify for financial assistance.
“As a federal response to the pandemic, people have been able to get coverage at far lower prices than they were before,” Covered California spokesman James Scullary said. .”
Covered California predicts that 1 million low-income households will see their premiums double if the US bailout expires. 150,000 would have to drop their insurance completely.
“Then people would go back to the original Affordable Care Act guidelines, which provided valuable financial relief to consumers, but not at the same level,” he said.
Scullary said those previous guidelines did not qualify middle-class Californians for financial aid. The US bailout did.
“Anyone beyond that would risk losing all of their financial aid,” he said.
People who pay nothing could see their rates go up to $75 a month. Others will pay hundreds more each month because rates are on a sliding scale based on income.
Health Access California executive director Anthony Wright said there’s one saving grace: It’s an election year.
“We think it’s actually possible, if not likely, that Congress will extend these grants, that it’s in no one’s interest for premium spikes to be announced and for people to start getting these notices at the fall of an election year,” Wright said. “So we think there’s a need to do it, but we need Congress to do it soon.”
Wright said he hopes Congress will pass a permanent funding plan so the issue doesn’t have to be reconsidered.