LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — According to the Congressional Budget Office, 14 million people will lose health coverage by the end of 2018, and that number jumps to 24 million by 2026.
“I think that the numbers sound reasonable,” said professor Gerald Kominski, director of UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Kominski predicts many in the first group of 14 million who will lose coverage by 2018 will likely be young and healthy, while many of the 24 million who lose coverage by 2026 will be older and sicker. Here’s why it’s all about timing.
The new law removes the fines for people who refuse to buy health insurance right away, so younger, healthier people can opt out immediately and will only have to pay a surcharge when they eventually decide to buy health insurance. The way the government helps pay for health insurance doesn’t change under the new law until 2020.
Kominski says people hit hardest financially once the new law’s funding mechanisms kick in are those who are older with modest incomes. Many of them will not be able to afford to buy health insurance because they’ll be priced out of the market.
“Generally anybody over 50 is going to be paying more in some cases a lot more starting in 2020,” Kominski said. “They’re going to find it much more difficult to afford insurance.”
Consumer watchdog health policy expert Jerry Flanagan agrees.
“If you are 60 years old making less than $75,000 in Los Angeles, you’re going to have a difficult time affording coverage because you’re going to get far less subsidies under the replacement plan.”