Affordability: Why Should Older People Pay More For Coverage?

Yesterday the Globe reported on the impact of age-based pricing for health insurance. Older people can be charged twice as much for the same coverage, which can force older consumers to purchase less comprehensive policies. The Globe article showed the plight of Sue Rummel, a 62-year old self-employed Danvers seamstress struggling with $2,400 in medical debt from a less expensive, skinnier plan with high out-of-pocket costs. The ACT!! Coalition empathizes with older residents faced with unaffordable coverage, and we have significant concerns with age-based pricing (see our blog and the interesting comment back-and forth from March).

ACT!! echoes our coalition member AARP, quoted in the article: we believe that consumers should be protected from spending more than 10% of their income on health care. We have worked for the past few years with the Connector and their regulations on the Affordability Schedule to limit the share of their earnings consumers must spend on health insurance.

ACT!! also supports considering all out-of-pocket expenses, such as co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance, when determining affordability for the purposes of the individual mandate. Since as a state, we are requiring that all residents obtain health coverage, we need to ensure that this coverage is truly affordable. An Act Relative to Health Care Affordability (S. 549/H. 1102) , championed by Senator Mark Montigny and Representative John Scibak, improves the state’s Affordability Schedule for the individual mandate by expanding the definition of affordability to accurately reflect all health care costs consumers face.
Catherine Hammons

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