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'Age Tax' part of ACA replacement?

March 20, 2017 06:13 PM

ROCHESTER — If you’re too young for Medicare, but over the age of 50, get ready: Your health insurance premiums could skyrocket.

The American Healthcare Act, introduced by Republicans and President Donald Trump to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act, will hit the House floor this week and in it is something many people are calling an "age tax.”

Insurance companies have long used age as a factor in determining premiums but the ACA put restrictions in place for determining just how much more older Americans could be charged. The American Healthcare Act loosens those restrictions dramatically.

Under Obamacare, insurers were allowed to charge older Americans three-times more for health insurance compared to younger adults. Under Trumpcare, Americans between the ages of 50 and 64, can be charged five-times more than younger adults.

"How much it’s going to impact those who buy their plans on the individual marketplace will vary… it'll be different for a 50-year-old, compared to a 64-year-old, but we know as a result of the American Healthcare Act, folks in that age range and beyond would suffer negative consequences," says Randy Hoak, Associate NYS Director of AARP.

The Senate’s Special Committee on Aging says, on average, a 60-year-old in New York State would see more than a $2,500 annual increase in premiums. The increase would also come at a time when the number of people eligible for healthcare subsidies would be slashed. AARP’s long-term concern is keeping people insured. "We don't want these premiums to raise so high that it's the age bracket that decides it's simply unaffordable and then they leave the insurance market and can't be provided the opportunity to have that insurance coverage,” Hoak says.

Republicans who support the bill say they hope by restraining the Government’s financial help to patients, insurance companies will have to offer cheaper policies to keep them. They say that might also entice more younger people to enroll, leveling off the risk-pool and lowing premiums for everyone.  

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A House vote on the plan is scheduled for Thursday.

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Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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