President Barack Obama celebrated his landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare”, Thursday, which now boasts an enrollment of 20 million, according to a story in the New York Times.
Nearly 200,000 Alabamians have signed up for insurance under the ACA as of the most recent open enrollment period, an increase of roughly 25,000 over the same period last year.
According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), many Alabamians have seen immense benefits from the program. 89 percent of Alabamians receiving coverage under the ACA are receiving average tax savings of $266 and 70 percent of Alabama consumers are getting health insurance for $100 or less.
A Gallup poll referenced in the HHS study showed that Alabama’s uninsured rate had dropped from 17.7 percent to 14.5 percent, but noted that the state could insure another 235,000 with the expansion of Medicaid.
Jim Carnes, Policy Director for Alabama noted that the expansion of Medicaid in the state would be a boon for healthcare and have a significant economic impact as well.
“We have a lot of folks in the lower income level who aren’t able to apple for coverage,” Carnes said, noting he is hopeful that Alabama will follow the lead of other red states, such as Kentucky and Arkansas, which have already expanded Medicaid.
Further, Carnes noted the federal funds available for expanding Medicaid, which pay 100 percent of the cost of doing so for the first three years, would go along way in stabilizing Alabama’s rural hospitals and ensuring that doctors are staying in those areas.
An estimate of insurance costs through the ACA can be calculated at www.healthcare.gov – the calculated cost for a family of four, with two parents around 30 years old with no other healthcare access and no prior health issues, plans range between $214 and $391 a month after a tax credit of just over $240. There are 12 plans available from either Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama or UnitedHealthcare.
The Alabama Department of Public Health did not respond to requests for comment regarding the impact the ACA has had on Alabama citizens.