Apr 15, 2020 - Health

The newly uninsured can turn to a stable ACA market

A man in a green shirt with the words "Obamacare" on the back helps two older adults sign up for health insurance.
Losing job-based health coverage qualifies people to sign up for an ACA plan. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People losing their employer-based health insurance in the coronavirus economy would find a pretty stable Affordable Care Act market if they need it — not that the Trump administration is advertising that fact.

Why it matters: ACA plans will be an important backstop for some newly uninsured people, many of whom could likely find affordable coverage on the law's insurance marketplaces.

Where it stands: The average monthly premium for ACA coverage was down 3% in this year's enrollment period, compared with 2019, according to a federal report that was released earlier this month but not publicly promoted.

  • That average monthly premium is $595, but the overwhelming majority of enrollees get a subsidy to help cover those costs — and people who have just lost a job could be eligible for those.
  • Some people "could get paid to buy ACA plans" right now because of looming insurance company rebates, according to Duke University health insurance researcher David Anderson.

Yes, but: You won't hear much about those options from the Trump administration, which has been consistently hostile to the ACA and has declined to open up a special enrollment window that would let anyone who has been disrupted by the economic shutdown to buy coverage.

Go deeper: Why Medicaid will be an even bigger lifeline for people losing their jobs and health coverage

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