Rate Shock Probably Affects Less Than 1 Percent of the Country

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How many people are subject to rate shock in the individual insurance market thanks to Obamacare? That’s a surprisingly hard figure to get a handle on. But here’s a rough cut:

  • There are about 15 million people who currently get individual coverage.
  • Of that, only about 5 million stay in the individual market for more than a year. The rest have individual coverage for only a few months and are minimally impacted by policy cancellations.
  • At a guess, maybe a third of these long-term buyers will end up with higher rates for comparable policies once they’ve shopped the exchange and applied their subsidies.

So that’s a grand total of perhaps 1-2 million people. It’s a lot. At the same time, it’s less than 1 percent of the population of the country. I don’t want to minimize the pain that higher rates are causing this 1 percent, but at the same time, we shouldn’t be overreacting either. Given the kludgy nature of our current health care system and the realities of American politics, it would be hard to design any kind of large-scale health care reform that did much better.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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