During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last month, First Lady Michelle Obama called young people "knuckleheads" for refusing to sign up for Obamacare. As the data and numbers on Obamacare continue to be analyzed, especially for young people, it appears the real knuckleheads are those who think millenials can actually afford health insurance under the "Affordable" Care Act.
Forbes Contributor Scott Gottlieb is out with a piece today detailing the cost of Obamacare health plans for young people making between $25,000 and $45,000 per year. The prices are astounding.
My AEI colleague Kelly Funderburk and I looked at four states: Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas. We then looked at a typical 30-year old at one of six different annual income brackets: $20,000 in annual income, $25K, $30K, $35K, $40K, and $45K. For each of the four states, we computed how much an Aetna Classic Silver plan would cost the same 30 year old at each of these six income bands. We looked at monthly premiums, deductibles, and out of pocket limits. We chose the Aetna plan because it operated across all of these markets, and represented a median price point among the silver plans.
Look at our numbers (laid out in the charts below) and you’ll see why so many Millennials have Obamacare sticker shock. Someone, for example, earning $25K annually in Arizona will pay $2,424 in total monthly premiums for Obamacare (10% of their annual income) and still be stuck with a $4,000 deductible and a $5,200 cap on their out of pocket costs. The same person in Illinois will pay $3,576 in annual premiums, and in low cost Texas $2,460.
What about the same 30 year old who now earns $30,000 annually – the average salary for a pre-school teacher according to census data? In Arizona, their annual cost for carrying the Obamacare plan runs $2,772 and their deductible is $5,000. In Illinois, the same person will spend $4,092 for the same health plan, and also have a $5,000 deductible before their full health coverage kicks in.
Before Obamacare passed in 2010, young people were able to obtain private health insurance plans for less than $100 per month with a $1000 deductible. I know because after college I signed up for a plan covering what I needed for just $80 per month before gaining insurance through my employer. Those days of affordability are long gone.
It's time for young people to take a second step back and ask themselves if they feel insulted yet by the Obama administration's expectations that their generation pay for one of the biggest expansions of government in American history. Are these kinds of costs really worth it so long as the President is funny during an In Between Two Ferns appearance? Are these costs really worth it so long as multi-millionaires like Lebron James tell you they are? Hardly.
Keep working young people (that is of course if you can find a job, Obamacare is forcing employers to cut workers and hours after all), Barack Obama is depending on you.