Health insurance for the lower income working class

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June 30, 2014 by Tony Novak

Lower income working class people in more than a third of all states face a problematic gap in their health care coverage where they make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for an Obamacare subsidy. HealthPocket estimates that about 5 million Americans fall in this gap; almost as many as remain enrolled in the new Obmacare health plan to date.

Even the least expensive Obamacare policies would be 15% of a worker’s income, too much for people in that income bracket. And that does not even account for the high out-of-pocket expenses including deductibles and co-payments that push the total cost thousands of dollars higher.

An editorial I wrote back in 2007 titled “Health Insurance for the Working Stupid” took a harsh and controversial stance against low-cost mini-med plans that were being sold to unsuspecting buyers. Now in 20014 things are much different with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Yet still we see the same desperate acts of individuals who need to find an affordable alternative. Even so, the editorial notes that mini-med be the only viable starting point for people caught in this gap.

I still believe that some coverage is better than no coverage at all, especially if it means the difference between getting into the health care system vs. being locked out from appropriate care. We can also surmise that the appropriate insurance is one that is in force. Unaffordable insurance is of no value whatsoever.

We can make two conclusions at this time:

1) the health care crisis continues for at least these five million Americans

2) a low-cost min-med insurance may be the best available coverage for right now until the coverage gap is closed.

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