A reminder as Tax Day and “Obamacare Day” hit: the Affordable Care Act is hardly affordable for youth.
Data from the Heritage Foundation has shown that premiums for a 27-year-old — the age young people are officially kicked off their parents’ plans — increased by more than 50 percent across more than half of the 50 states under the law. The premiums are also more than double in 11 states.
The conservative think-tank analyzed the change in the cost of health insurance plans purchased through both the federal and state-run exchanges in October 2013, when the law was first implemented. The data is visualized in chart form as part of Heritage’s updated “Obamacare in Pictures” series:
Heritage’s analysis showed a 27-year-old living in Arkansas sees the highest percent increase in the cost of premiums under Obamacare, at a jump of 171 percent. Georgia followed closely behind with a percent change of 168 percent.
To the contrary, Colorado — which operates its own exchange — has the biggest percent drop in the cost of premiums. In the Centennial State, insurance plans for a 27-year-old actually go down by 30 percent. New York was a close second, with the cost of health insurance lowering by 29 percent.
Still, in only five states — Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island — do 27 year olds actually see their health insurance prices go down, according to the calculations.
Data for Kentucky, Hawaii and Massachusetts was not available at the time of analysis, and Virginia data was not listed due to possible errors.
Such increases in premiums deliver a blow to President Obama’s promise to millions of Americans: Consumers would have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
As Heritage noted, such a rise in premiums for a 27-year-old would likely derail big purchases, such as a house or a car, which are already lagging among Generation Y.
If young people choose not to face skyrocketing premiums, they do have the option of paying a fine — $95 in 2014, or 1 percent of one’s income.
Several lawmakers have criticized the Affordable Care Act’s design, which saddles young Americans with high premiums to offset the costs for the elderly and sick.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), along with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), offered an alternative proposal to Obamacare designed to help ease the rising costs of insurance, for instance.
“Unfortunately, young Americans are on the front lines of experiencing the costs and consequences of Obamacare’s costly mandates and broken promises: skyrocketing premiums, fewer choices, employers deciding not to offer health insurance, cutting back hours, or not hiring all together,” Burr told Red Alert Politics in January. “They know that Obamacare is not fair to them or their future.”
Though the administration has yet to provide data reporting how many in this age demographic signed up, available information from state exchanges raised some doubts about the level of youth enrollment.