The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn’t affordable for everybody. The New York Times reported Sunday that many Americans who purchased insurance plans on the PPACA exchanges are now dropping their policies, citing cost.
Overall, the number of people enrolled in plans through PPACA’s exchanges decreased from 11.7 million at the end of February to 9.9 million at the beginning of June, a dip of 15 percent.
Why can’t people afford the plans? There are a number of reasons.
Some drop their plans after a drop in income makes it harder to pay the premiums. Others do so after hearing from the feds that because their incomes can’t be verified, they won’t be getting the subsidies they need to pay for the plans. And some simply don’t believe the subsidies they’re receiving are enough.
The Times reports that many experts are criticizing the process as too confusing for people to understand what information they have to provide in exchange for subsidies. The poor communication was put on display by recent news that more than 400,000 people were losing insurance because the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could not verify that they were legal residents.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services told the Times that the federal marketplace contacts those who have failed to provide critical information “as many as 14 times,” to help them get their situation in order.
Mikel Rogers, who helps people in Mississippi enroll in plans, told the Times that the documents people receive from the federal government are tough to understand.
“I’ve looked at these letters and said, ‘O.K., I have a bachelor’s degree and I wouldn’t understand this, either,’” she told the Times. “It’s just not worded clearly.”
The problem is particularly acute in states such as Mississippi, which refused the federally-funded Medicaid expansion. In such states, many residents who would be eligible for Medicaid are required to buy insurance on the exchanges that many of them find too expensive, even with the subsidies.
Mississippi experienced an 8 percent drop in marketplace enrollment from March 31 to June 1. That’s nearly 17,000 people who had insurance and then ditched it or lost it.