Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

AARP report: Obamacare replacement would hurt older Floridians

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the GOP proposal takes into account that health insurance plans cost more for older individuals.

Associated Press

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the GOP proposal takes into account that health insurance plans cost more for older individuals.

How many older Floridians with Affordable Care Act coverage would see their premiums rise under the Republican replacement plan?

About 454,000, according to a new analysis by AARP.

Low-income people in their 60s would be hardest hit, the analysis found. For some, the proposal under consideration in Congress could mean an annual tax credit reduction of nearly $6,000.

The cut in government aid would put thousands in an "untenable situation," forcing many people in their 50s and 60s to go without health insurance, AARP Florida state director Jeff Johnson said Friday.

"These are people who have kids in school," Johnson said. "They may be taking care of aging parents. They are trying to make a living."

AARP has been a vocal opponent of the GOP plan, which cleared a key House committee Thursday and could go to the floor as soon as next week. The organization has raised specific concerns about its impact on people between ages 50 and 64. (People 65 and older qualify for Medicare.)

Under current law, low- and middle-income individuals receive tax credits to help offset the cost of health insurance coverage. The amount of assistance is based largely on income.

The proposed replacement, known as the American Health Care Act, would instead offer a flat tax credit to individuals earning less than $75,000 and families earning less than $150,000.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters the cap was intended to avoid creating a "job penalty." That is, he and his colleagues didn't want to penalize someone for taking a job that pays more.

"We don't want federal tax credits to ever encourage a person not to advance, not to take a job, not to get a raise," he said this month.

Ryan added that the amount of the credit would increase with age, because health insurance plans cost more for older individuals.

The maximum $4,000, however, is still less than most older people currently receive, according to the AARP analysis. Under existing law, the average tax credit for a 64-year-old person with $15,000 in annual income is $9,854.

AARP found that a small group of people would receive a larger tax credit under the House proposal — people between ages 50 and 55 with an annual income of $45,000.

AARP said the new plan would weaken or eliminate limits on "age-rating," meaning insurance companies could charge older adults much more than they currently do.

"People could be paying five times more than someone just as healthy, but younger," Johnson said.

More than 1.7 million Floridians are enrolled in coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace — more than any other state, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

A poll released by Florida Atlantic University this week found that a majority of Floridians want to expand the current health care law or keep it the way it is. Three-quarters of respondents said they opposed letting insurance companies charge older customers more.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

AARP report: Obamacare replacement would hurt older Floridians 03/17/17 [Last modified: Sunday, March 19, 2017 11:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Police: Uber driver's gun discharges during fight at Adventure Island in Tampa

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — An Uber driver's gun went off Sunday at Adventure Island during a fight between the driver and two passengers.

  2. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  3. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  4. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

    Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who can be a free agent Saturday, counts the Lightning among his early suitors.
  5. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.