SOURCE: HealthPocket

HealthPocket

October 21, 2015 09:00 ET

Survey: Most Consumers Can Only Afford $100 or Less for Health Insurance

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 21, 2015) - Given the approach of the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, as well as proposed rate increases for 2016, HealthPocket conducted a nationwide survey to determine how much Americans can afford to spend on health insurance premiums.

The survey of 1,137 people nationwide asked, "Given proposed rate increases on health insurance, what is the highest monthly premium you could afford to pay for health insurance in 2016?" Respondents could select one of six possible answers: $100 a month or less, $200 a month, $300 a month, $400 a month, $500 a month, and More than $500 a month.

57 percent of respondents answered "$100 a month or less," besting the second most popular answer with over twice the number of respondents. "$100 a month or less" also was the top choice when dividing the country into the Northeast, South, Midwest and the West.

Age did affect answer choice, with 18- to 34-year-olds selecting "$100 a month or less" at a rate of over 60 percent. In comparison, respondents between 45 and 54 selected that answer 45 percent of the time. Women were also more likely to select "$100 a month or less" than men, though for both sexes more than half gave this answer in response to the survey question.

The survey findings help illuminate starkly contrasting consumer perspectives on health insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act. For the subsidized, the average Healthcare.gov premium in 2015 was $101 per month, aligned well with popular views on affordability. For the unsubsidized, the average Healthcare.gov premium in 2015 was $364 per month, over two and a half times more expensive than the amount most consumers claim is the maximum they can afford to pay for health insurance.

The survey findings also shed light on challenges experienced by exchanges with respect to attracting 18- to 34-year-olds, the so-called "young invincibles." This age group chose $100 or less as the most they could pay for health insurance more often than the nation as a whole. But this group also has a higher risk of falling into the "subsidy gap," where their premiums as a percentage of earnings do not trigger a subsidy, despite being in the general income range for premium assistance.

The full findings of the survey along with its methodology can be reviewed in "Survey: Most Consumers Can Afford Only $100 or Less for Health Insurance Premiums" at HealthPocket.com.

HealthPocket.com is a free website that compares and ranks all health insurance plans, helping individuals, families, and small businesses to make their best health plan decisions. HealthPocket publishes health insurance market analyses and other consumer advocacy research. HealthPocket's research is nonpartisan and uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. HealthPocket, Inc. is independently managed and based in Mountain View, California. Learn more at www.HealthPocket.com.

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