Residents of Fresno County could be among the hardest hit in California if Congress doesn’t renew federal funding that lowers the cost of prescription drugs in the health insurance market.
“> If Congress does not approve the extension of the planpeople buying health insurance through Covered California can see an increase of between 82% – or more than $ 1,000, according to Health Access California, which focuses on the declaration of health consumers.
Covered California subscribers who live in the 16th, 21st and 22nd Congressional districts – represented by Fresno Democrat Jim Costa, Hanford Republican David Valadao and Tulare Republican Connie Conway, respectively – may face a significant increase in costs.
People in District 16 could be hit with an average increase of 151% – the largest increase in the state compared to other districts.
Congress can vote on extending the American Rescue Plan before the August recess on Aug. 8. The money is supposed to expire at the end of the year if the MPs don’t act before.
“The people of the Central Valley may be the most affected, but delegates may be divided across parties to increase this support,” said Anthony Wright, CEO of Health Access California. “If support doesn’t increase, you’re going to have some of the biggest additions in the Central Valley.”
People with lower incomes can see higher rates
People without employer-sponsored health insurance go to the Covered California marketplace to buy health care. Federal and state subsidies help keep Covered California’s rates affordable.
Those who purchase insurance through Covered California come in many roles and ages, and include agricultural workers, retailers and restaurants, self-employed workers, young and old at the beginning and end of their careers, people in between jobs and more. The majority of people who have signed up for health insurance through Covered California are Latino, according to Wright.
If Congress doesn’t increase funding for the American Rescue Plan, people could end up paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year for help. People with low incomes are more likely to be affected by the increase in premiums, which means that those who do not have a financial adjustment can be bought out of the market and left without insurance.
More than 64,000 people enroll in health insurance through Covered California between Counties 16, 21 and 22. About 67% of them – some 43,000 people – are at or below 250% of the federal poverty line, according to Covered California. That means they make about $34,000 a year.
Data from Covered California shows that residents of the Fresno area who live below 250% of the federal poverty level could see a significant increase in income – 204% on average across counties 16, 21 and 22 – while those living at 400% of poverty. , about $54K a year, should see a premium increase of 131%. The number of people in the federal poverty line could see a 66% increase.
“Although the spread of the epidemic before it was important, but the medical emergency confirms the need to have support, to be able to get the first aid,” said Wright. “This is especially important in an area like Fresno, where you have a lot of diseases like asthma.”
California plans to end subsidies
The American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed last year, said that no one should pay more than 8.5% of their income, according to Covered California CEO Jessica Altman.
The influx of money from the plan helped California “move the mountains” and reach a high number of people who registered for health insurance, and a low rate of 6% uninsured, Altman said.
But, Altman said in an interview with The Fresno Bee, “if the American Rescue Plan ends, 220,000 Californians will be deprived of a tree and will unfortunately join the ranks of the unprotected.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom provided $304 million in the budget to increase health insurance subsidies under Covered California.
“It’s important to note that $304 million is a lot of help from the state,” Altman said, “but we’re getting $1.7 billion here in California a year because of the American Rescue Plan.”
Wright of Health Access acknowledged that government funding can help — but not fix — the problem.
“Even though it can deal with negative impacts, people still see an increase, an increase of hundreds or thousands of dollars,” Wright said.
Covered California typically publishes enrollment information in October and open enrollment in the insurance market begins Nov. 1. People have until the end of the year to choose or change their health insurance plan.
“Time is of the essence here, and every day it’s about doing as much as possible while avoiding disruption and confusion for consumers,” Altman said.