Obamacare's major provisions went into effect at the beginning of 2014, but about 30 million people remain uninsured in the United States. This is because some people are ineligible for coverage due to their immigration status. According to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a lot of Americans are going without insurance even though they're supposed to be eligible under the health law.
Kaiser researchers, who surveyed a representative sample of more than 10,000 adults, most of the uninsured people in the country have incomes that qualify them to receive financial assistance under Obamacare. They could either get subsidies to help them purchase private plans on the new state-level marketplaces, or they could enroll in public plans in their state's expanded Medicaid program.
Advertisement54% of the people who are uninsured at present have family incomes below the threshold — up to 138% of the federal poverty line, which should be covered by Obamacare's Medicaid expansion:
Many people who are uninsured are unaware of their coverage options, and see health insurance as very expensive as they don't realize how they might benefit from its provisions which are aimed at low-income Americans.
Earlier research found that this has been a particularly big problem in red states, where anti-Obamacare lawmakers haven't dedicated as many resources to trying to promote the law. In these states patients are less informed about the health reforms.
The Supreme Court had ruled the law's Medicaid expansion to be optional, and some conservative lawmakers refused to expand the Medicaid program. According to the Kaiser study 18% of the adults who are currently uninsured fall into this Medicaid coverage gap.
Among the uninsured people who aren't currently benefiting from Obamacare, don't have a lot of other options open to them, as more than three-fourths of them have no access to insurance through an employer. About one in four uninsured people are working at a job that doesn't offer them health care. This "poor" is the population that the Medicaid expansion was specifically intended to help.
In some states a few of those proposals have faced flak for requiring low-income people to pay premiums to use their Medicaid coverage. Iowa, Michigan, Arkansas, Indiana, and Pennsylvania currently require Medicaid beneficiaries to finance part of their public insurance plans.
Source: Tara Culp-Ressler
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