With the implementation of The Affordable Care Act also, not everyone can afford health insurance in the United States.
Older adults who earn just a little bit too much to qualify for federal subsidies are particularly vulnerable. This is a group which faces the biggest gap in affordability. Ilana Graetz, who is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis.
Young adults face higher premiums even after subsidies under Obamacare according to the study.
"The fact that they actually have to pay more with the subsidies is a little bit concerning and surprising," Graetz said.
The study, published in the Sept. 9 online edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, examines premium variations by age, income and region and the affordability of premiums after subsidies.
Jonathan Wu CEO of Value Penguin.com agrees that according to the study it does "quantify some of the gaps and point out where in the income spectrum these gaps exist."
Under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans must have health insurance or pay a penalty when they file their federal taxes. Penalties for 2014 begin at $95 per person or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater.
Those who cannot buy "affordable" coverage do not have to pay penalties. People who come under this bracket are those people who cannot exceed 8% of their total income.
People, who are earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, can avail federal subsidies to pay premiums.
People who can't find affordable coverage don't have to pay penalties. Consumers who are not insured don't get the financial protection and access to care that being insured can provide.
Despite some small gaps, younger people generally have access to affordable coverage, Graetz explained. "But relative to older people, they're paying a lot more," she said.
If substantial numbers of young adults pay the penalty rather than buy a health plan, health insurance experts believe it could drive up premiums for everyone.
"When you create a complex system of rules to govern things like subsidies and premiums, especially without any insight as to what insurers will charge for insurance after the law has been passed, you're going to run into these problems," Wu said.
Liana Graetz, Sept 2014
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)