Special Enrollment Period and Increased ACA Subsidies Could Help Close Gaps in Health Insurance Coverage for Asian American and Pacific Islander Adults
WASHINGTON – A new analysis from AARP’s Public Policy Institute finds that nearly half of older adults purchasing health insurance through the nongroup health insurance market faced unaffordable health coverage in 2019, compared to 30% of younger adults. As a result, a growing share of older adults remained uninsured: 9% of all 50-64 year olds, more than half of all older adults who don’t have access to job-based or public health coverage. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), about one in five Asian older adults was uninsured. That declined after the ACA was passed, but has increased again in recent years; 7.9% of Asian older adults did not have health insurance in 2019. Among older Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders, the increase in the uninsured rate has nearly eliminated the ACA’s coverage gains.
Lack of affordable coverage is one reason why many adults ages 50-64 remain uninsured. AARP’s analysis found that in 2019, a 64-year-old earning slightly above the threshold to be eligible for premium subsidies under the ACA faced an average premium that was nearly 30 percent of their income. Two recent policy changes could help older adults purchase affordable coverage. A provision of the American Rescue Act caps the amount an individual pays for health insurance in the marketplace at 8.5% of income for two years. This provision goes into effect April 1, overlapping with a special enrollment period that allows people to purchase health insurance through the nongroup market until August 15.
“While the Affordable Care Act has greatly reduced the number of older adults who are uninsured, coverage has remained unaffordable for far too many people aged 50-64, including many Asian American and Pacific Islanders,” said Daphne Kwok, Vice President of Multicultural Audiences at AARP. “We want to make sure that the millions of currently uninsured older adults know that new subsidies are available to them beginning April 1. Health insurance that was unaffordable in the past may now fit in their household budget.”
AARP will conduct an informational campaign beginning April 1 to let older adults know about the special enrollment period and new subsidies that could greatly reduce the cost of health insurance for millions of Americans. They can visit www.AARP.org/ACA for more information about how to get health insurance during this period.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.