When Health Insurance Prices Rose Last Year, Around a Million Americans Dropped Coverage

Last year, as insurance prices rose by an average of just over 20 percent around the country, people who qualified for Obamacare subsidies hung onto their insurance. But the increases appear to have been too much to bear for many customers who earned too much to qualify for financial help.

According to a new government report, about a million people appear to have been priced out of the market for health insurance last year.

The report is the first comprehensive look by the Department of Health and Human Services at people who buy their own insurance but don’t qualify for federal subsidies under Obamacare. Individuals who earn more than around $48,000 have to pay full price for their health plans; that group has faced a second round of big premium increases in 2018 and is looking at a third round of them in some parts of the country next year.

The report does not provide enough information to be sure precisely how much of the difference is a result of increased prices. For complicated reasons, some people who paid full price in 2016 became eligible for subsidies in 2017, making a simple comparison of before and after numbers a little misleading. 

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