Poll: Half of America Can’t Afford More Than $100 a Month on Health Insurance

Millennials feeling extra pinch on health costs

doctor
AP

More than half of Americans—52.5 percent—say they cannot afford to spend more than $100 a month on health insurance premiums, according to a poll from HealthPocket, a technology company that compares health plans.

The group asked survey respondents at the beginning of open enrollment what was the highest monthly premium they could afford to pay for health insurance in 2017.

More than half of respondents said $100 a month or less, while 15.9 percent said they could afford to spend $200 a month.

Just over 11 percent said they could afford $300 a month, 5.5 percent said they could afford $400 a month, and 4.8 percent said they could spend $500 a month, while and 9.8 percent said they could afford $500 or more.

"Double-digit rate increases for people purchasing insurance in the Affordable Care Act market has renewed questions regarding what people can afford to pay for coverage," the survey states.

A higher percentage of women said that $100 was the most they could spend a month on health insurance premiums. Fifty-seven percent of women said this was the case compared to 47.4 percent of men.

In addition, 60.1 percent of millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, a group that is attractive to insurers because they are healthier and less likely to use health care services, said that they could only spend $100 per month on premiums.

While the Obama Administration has said that many will pay less than $75 a month on premiums, the report notes that for the millions of unsubsidized Americans, premiums will be more expensive.

According to the report, a 30-year-old will pay an average premium of $311.17 for the bronze plan, $364.91 for the silver plan, $464.19 for the gold plan, and $553.15 for the platinum plan.

"Just as was the case in last year's survey, $100 or less is the greatest amount of money most Americans can devote to monthly health insurance premiums," the report says. "This affordability ceiling illuminates the continuing divide in privately purchased health insurance between the subsidized and the unsubsidized."

On Oct. 24, the Obama administration confirmed that health insurance premiums would increase by double digits in 2017.

"Nationwide, average Marketplace premiums for 2017 are increasing more than they have in the past two years," the Department of Health and Human Services said.

"For the median HealthCare.gov consumer, the benchmark second-lowest silver plan premium is increasing by 16 percent this year, before taking into account the effects of financial assistance."

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to requests for comment by press time.